KUALA LUMPUR: The allegations by a Selangor executive councillor that no engagement took place between the federal and Selangor governments on the revised alignment of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) are not true, says MCA spokesperson Mike Chong Yew Chuan.
“Discussions with the Selangor state government started since July last year. There were 37 engagement sessions with 17 state agencies," said the MCA central committee member.
It was not right for Selangor exco member Datuk Teng Chang Khim to claim that Putrajaya acted like a “big bully” in the reimplementation of the northern alignment of the rail project, he said at a press conference at Wisma MCA here on Monday (April 12).
Chong said Teng also claimed that the ECRL 3.0 (using the northern alignment) did not benefit the West Ports and Northport in Port Klang.
"I wish to inform him the new ECRL 3.0 alignment is enhanced with the incorporation of the Serendah Bypass infrastructure to the project’s scope with improvement by passing through Serendah and linking Port Klang with Westport and Northport.
“The bypass line will help solve the problems in double-handling, ” he said.
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On April 5, Teng was reported as saying Putrajaya acted like a “big bully” in steamrolling through the latest version of the ECRL, and that it did not engage the Selangor government prior to reverting to the northern alignment route.
Teng, who is in charge of the investment, trade, industries and small and medium enterprises portfolios in Selangor, also said the Selangor government would not make any land acquisition if the Perikatan Nasional government insisted on using the previous and original northern alignment for the rail project.
Teng's comment followed an announcement by Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong last Monday (April 5) that the reinstatement of the original alignment – which was first approved by the Barisan government in 2017 – which would be more cost-effective.
Dr Wee also said it would allow for a higher freight tonnage as compared to the southern alignment planned by the Pakatan Harapan government previously.
Chong said the northern alignment’s finalisation is supported by professional and scientific research results in terms of technical expenses, economic benefits, tonnage capacity, passenger capacity, driving social and economic development, including protecting water catchment areas, the forests and the Orang Asli settlements.
In the spirit of check-and-balance, Chong said the Opposition leaders should be professional and always argue with facts and data.
“We should not object for the sake of objecting. We should set aside our political ideologies and come together on common ground and seek more benefits for our next generation, ” he added.
Below is a comparison between the northern and southern alignment according to Chong.