JELEBU (Bernama): The federal government's decision to resume the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project with revised route that include Jelebu district is expected to bring rapid changes into this sleepy town that is famous for its durians and MD2 pineapples.
Located about 49km from Seremban, the state capital of Negri Sembilan, and 64km from Bukit Ampang, Selangor, Jelebu is expected to experience rapid development in terms of socio-economic, infrastructure and job opportunities.
Undoubtedly, many Jelebu residents are hoping that the ECRL, with Jelebu as part of its realignment route, will help develop the tourism sector in the area.
One of the residents, 56-year-old barber S. Ravisanthiran believes the project would be able to transform Jelebu's landscape from an isolated and less-known place, into an area that would boast development of new and modern infrastructure.
"It will bring in more investors and developers to invest here apart from pushing for more housing projects and this indirectly will open up more employment opportunities to the local community," he told Bernama here Saturday (May 4).
Meanwhile, 26-year-old Muhamad Ridzuan Abdul Rahim said job opportunities in Jelebu would certainly change from focusing on agriculture activities such as rubber tapping, to industrial sector such as manufacturing.
"It is good and I can see job opportunities especially in the industrial sector as Jelebu is included in the stretch that connects Kuantan Port to Port Klang, and this will make Jelebu suitable for the construction of industrial areas.
"With that prospect, young people don't have to move to other districts or states to find employment if industrial sector can be developed here," said Muhamad Ridzuan, a private sector employee.
On April 12, the Prime Minister's Office in a statement, announced the ECRL project will resume at a reduced cost following the signing of a supplementary agreement (SA) between Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) and China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC).
According to the statement, the construction cost for Phases 1 and 2 of the ECRL was reduced to RM44bil, a reduction of RM21.5bil from its original cost of RM65.5bil.
The construction of the ECRL will see the new alignment from Kota Baru to Mentakab, Jelebu, Kuala Klawang, Bangi, Kajang, Putrajaya and ends in Port Klang.
Retail shop owner, Mohd Yakub Mohd Amin, 56, who described it as the government's best agenda, said the opening of the station in Jelebu would further boost the retail sector.
Meanwhile, 56-year-old fishing equipment shop owner Chia Khee Yin said the ECRL would increase the number of visitors to Jelebu.
"Usually, the area is always filled with tourists during the durian season. If there is ECRL, it will facilitate tourists to travel here and to bring more tourists from outside to make a stop here because, apart from durians, Jelebu also has various tourist attractions such as Lata Kijang, Jeram Toi, Gunung Besar Hantu and so on," he said.
For 36-year-old private sector worker Salehudin Daut, the ECRL would provide the local residents with more transportation options, apart from the existing bus and taxi services. - Bernama