KUALA LUMPUR: Disappointment was the word used by the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project owner in response to the Selangor government’s wish to retain the southern alignment for the portion of the railway that passes through the state.
In a statement on Wednesday, Selangor exco member for infrastructure Izham Hashim had said that while Selangor supported the ECRL, it was adamant that Section C – from Mentakab, Pahang, to Port Klang – must pass through Negri Sembilan and Putrajaya instead of the project’s original alignment passing through Bentong, Gombak and Serendah.
Yesterday, Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) said the statement was a real letdown, especially after it had countless engagements with the Selangor state and its agencies in the past eight months on the plan to revert to the original alignment.
“MRL had briefed the relevant state agencies in Selangor on the many advantages of the original alignment and product scope, which also includes a rail bypass line from Serendah to Port Klang for KTM Berhad.
“In fact, the engagements received constructive feedback from the Selangor’s technical departments and agencies, ” said MRL chairman Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali.
MRL, he added, had addressed all issues raised by the various state agencies on the reversion to the original ECRL alignment and provided solutions and mitigation measures for environmental protection, as well as minimising social impact and improving overall integration of public transport, among others.
“For example, MRL presented a definitive solution to safeguard the Klang Gates (Gombak) Quartz Ridge by designing an alignment that traverses an existing road. Encroachment into the quartz ridge by ECRL is now a non-issue.“As such, MRL is shocked that the exco member has brushed aside convincing details that MRL furnished to the various state agencies, including the Selangor Economic Action Council, on the clear advantages of the original alignment, ” he said.
ECRL’s Section A (Kota Baru-Dungun) and Section B (Dungun-Mentakab), which are under construction, have been making good progress despite the Covid-19 pandemic. MRL said Selangor’s outright objection or indecisiveness over Section C would further delay the construction of the railway, scheduled for completion by December 2026.
“The construction of ECRL is a matter of national interest and it is envisioned as a catalyst for socioeconomic growth that narrows the economic inequality between the west coast and east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, ” Zuki said.