Anwar hails Malaysia-China partnership for boosting local industries via ECRL project

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has commended the collaboration between Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) and China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC) for the development of local industry players in the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project.

“This will also help us to prepare our economy to be in a better position and develop the underdeveloped areas in the east coast,” he said after the groundbreaking ceremony of the ECRL Gombak Integrated Terminal station here, which was also attended by China’s Premier Li Qiang on Wednesday (June 19).

Anwar also repeatedly expressed his thanks to both companies and Li’s attendance as a showcase of the two nation’s close bilateral relationship.

“This event marks an important milestone in the working relations between China and Malaysia which showcases how we are able to collaborate together.

“I want to thank them for their efforts in training, transferring technology, giving local players exposure to the new technology and upskilling local experts.

“One of the major flaws of these large mega projects is ensuring that the maintenance of these monumental projects is carried out efficiently, without disrupting progress.

“But the cooperation between MRL and CCCC has shown that we are able to achieve that and more which has led to the project being completed ahead of schedule,” he said while hoping for more similar future cross-national cooperation.

The groundbreaking ceremony marks an important step in the completion of the 665km-long ECRL project which has reached 67.09% as of May 2024, according to a statement from the Transport Ministry on Wednesday (June 19).

Situated less than a five-minute walk from the existing Gombak LRT station, the planned site of the ECRL Gombak station is part of the 20-station ECRL project that looks to improve connectivity between the states of Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and Selangor.

With planned covered walkways, commuters will also be able to seamlessly traverse between the Gombak ECRL station, soon-to-be completed Gombak Integrated Transport Terminal (ITT), and existing Gombak LRT station.

Owned by MRL, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Finance Ministry, the ECRL is expected to cut travel time between Kota Baru in Kelantan and Gombak in Selangor to four hours compared to the current seven hours via road transportation.

With China-based contractor China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC) in charge of the project’s engineering and construction, the ECRL’s rail alignment from Kota Baru to the Gombak Integrated Terminal station is scheduled to be completed by December 2026 with operations set to start in January 2027.

The ECRL, linking key ports between Port Klang and Kuantan Port, comprises 10 passenger-only stations and another 10 stations combining passengers and freight.

The remaining ECRL line stations in Selangor from Gombak to Port Klang are expected to be complete by December 2027, with operations to begin in January 2028.

The ECRL network in Selangor, which is nearly 120km, will have five stations, namely the Gombak, Kapar, Jalan Kastam Integrated Terminals for passengers only as well as the Bandar Serendah and Puncak Alam stations for both passengers and cargo.

Also present at the ceremony were Transport Minister Anthony Loke, MRL chairman Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali, Malaysia's Ambassador to China Datuk Norman Muhamad and Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Ouyang Yujing.

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