ECRL could boost nation’s GDP by 4%, says Zafrul

KUALA LUMPUR: The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) is anticipated to contribute a 3.8% increase to Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2047 by enhancing trade, boosting tourism and stimulating regional development, said the Investment, Trade and Industry Minister.

Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said the ECRL project, valued at almost RM75bil, is more than just a rail link cutting across Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and Selangor, but can also serve as a cornerstone for economic growth and social progress.

“The ECRL is poised to be a game changer for Malaysia, linking us more closely to the Pan-Asia railway network and enhancing our connectivity with the Asean and Eurasia regions.

“Spanning 665km and connecting our east and west coasts, the ECRL represents Malaysia’s significant integration into a broader network of trade and cultural exchange,” he said in his keynote address at the Seminar on East Coast Rail Link-Economic Accelerator Project (ECRL-EAP) Business and Investment Opportunities here yesterday.

He said by “facilitating quicker coast-to-coast movement and offering an alternate maritime gateway for cargo and passenger flow”, the ECRL is “poised to slash cargo vessel travel time by a significant 2.5 days between the Port Klang and Kuantan Port ports”.

“As of February 2024, the project is 62% complete, with each state’s alignment progressing steadily towards the finish line,” he added, reported Bernama.

With a targeted completion date in December 2026 and operations kicking off in January 2027, the ECRL-EAP is set to enhance Malaysia’s economic landscape and connectivity, said Tengku Zafrul.

“On this, we see significant potential for government-linked investment companies (GLICs) and private sector players to actively participate and invest in projects along the ECRL corridor,” he added.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim recently announced a RM1bil fund as part of the New Empowerment Agenda for Bumiputra, to be managed by GLICs.

The move to allocate the mammoth sum is aimed at cultivating a new generation of bumiputra entrepreneurs in high-growth sectors.

The Investment, Trade and Industry Ministry and its agencies, particularly the Malaysian Investment Development Authority, will continue to position Malaysia as a regional gateway for international businesses and multinational corporations.

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