Selangor approves original ECRL northern alignment

PETALING JAYA: In less than six years, passengers will be able to travel from Klang Valley to Kota Baru in under five hours.

Selangor has allowed the 170km-long Section C of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) to revert to its original alignment of passing through northern Gombak, where passengers from the Kelana Jaya LRT line can board ECRL passenger trains that have a top speed of 160kmh.

Section C stretches from Temerloh to Bentong, Pahang and under parts of the Main Range before emerging near Gombak, where the line will pass Serendah Baru and Kapar on its way to Port Klang, with additional boarding points at Serendah Baru and Klang's Jalan Kastam.

In his speech at the document handover ceremony at a hotel here Thursday (Dec 2), Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari said various state agencies had deliberated at length the arguments and pleadings from the Federal Government, led by the Transport Ministry on why the northern alignment is better.

"Following engagements initiated by the Transport Ministry, respective state agencies took another look at the matter. Following state agency meetings on Nov 17 and 24, the state decided to accept the northern alignment.

"Selangor has no further objections to the alignment and will work with the necessary agencies to smoothen the associated processes such as land acquisition (beginning 2022), while continuing to protect the physical environment," he said.

In his speech, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said he was heartened by Selangor's rational approach over the Section C alignment that involves Section C1 from Mentakab to Gombak and Section C2 that covers Gombak-Serendah - Port Klang.

"The realignment of the ECRL to the original alignment was carried out after the Transport Ministry observed that the ECRL would be more competitive if it traversed the original alignment as it is not only economical but also reduces environmental and social impact.

"The decision by the Selangor state government will certainly ease the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning (EPCC) contract details for the ECRL project.

"The Selangor government's decision paved the way forward for ECRL to facilitate the changes and terms to the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning (EPCC) contracts for the ECRL project, thus facilitating the implementation of the ECRL construction, which now reaches the inner parts of our ports (North Port and Westports), which is an even more exciting development," he said.

ECRL is an electrified rail network running on the widely used standard gauge (1,435mm between each rail) stretching 665km from Kota Baru to Port Klang.

"With the slogan “Connecting Lives, Accelerating Growths”, the ECRL is a high impact project which will significantly reduce the travelling time and have an economic spin-off effects for the East Coast states. It will be a catalyst for growth which will stimulate investment, commercial activities, create job opportunities, increase tourism activities and quality education facilities along its route.

"Over the course of time, we argued and debated over our respective positions, but we are now friends. We thank the Mentri Besar, who helped paved the way to make things happen," said Dr Wee at event on Thursday.

"On behalf of the Federal Government, I want to thank the Mentri Besar for allowing this to happen. "When planning, we will not neglect his wish list for more development in the southern part of Selangor. We will share our long-term plans soon for this area," said Dr Wee.

Also present at the event was Yu Jun, the political counsellor of the Chinese embassy in Malaysia, Wang Haihuai, president of China Communications Construction Company Ltd, who followed the event online from Beijing, Transport Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Isham Ishak, as well as Selangor state secretary Datuk Haris Kasim.

This ceremony was also conducted online and joined by China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC) President Wang Haihuai.

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