KUALA LUMPUR: In less than six years from now, passengers will be able to travel from the Klang Valley to Kota Baru in well below five hours on land.
This is a certainty, given that Selangor has now 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 easily board ECRL passenger trains that are rated for a top speed of 160kph.
Section C stretches from Temerloh to Bentong, Pahang, and under parts of the Main Range before emerging near Gombak, where the line will then 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 a document handover ceremony here yesterday, Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari said the 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 was the better one.
“I hereby officially want to say that 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 next year), while continuing to protect the environment,” he said.
In his speech, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said he was heartened by Selangor’s rational approach in looking at the Section C alignment.
“The realignment of the ECRL to the original alignment was carried out after the Transport Ministry, which projected that the ECRL would be more competitive if it traversed the original (northern) alignment as it is not only economical but also reduced environmental and social impact.
“The Selangor government’s decision absolutely 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 stretching 665km from Kota Baru to Port Klang, with various spurs lines to facilitate cargo transport.
“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 pave the way to make things happen,” said Dr Wee.
Dr Wee shared that the Federal Government would also reciprocate the goodwill from Selangor.
“In our long-term planning, we have taken note of the Mentri Besar’s wishlist, which is for more developments in the southern part of Selangor. We will share our long-term plans soon for this area, given our deep appreciation for Selangor,” said Dr Wee.
Those who attended the event included Yu Jun, the political counsellor of the Chinese embassy in Malaysia, Wang Haihuai, president of China Communications Construction Company Ltd (the main contractor), who followed the event online from Beijing, and Datuk Seri Isham Ishak, MOT secretary-general.
Transport planning consultant Goh Bok Yen of MAG Technical & Development Consultants Sdn Bhd said the conclusion of the deal was no mean feat, adding that by connecting with the Gombak LRT station, the ECRL would join with the heart of public transport in the Klang Valley, and was the right decision.