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New portal to help retrenched overseas M’sians

TAPAH: The Human Resources Ministry will set up a special portal for Malaysians who have lost their jobs abroad due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Cost and environmental concerns must be resolved before ECRL alignment is decided

KUALA LUMPUR: Cost implications and environmental concerns are among matters which must be resolved before the alignment of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project can be finalised, says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong. "We have yet to reach the stage of making a final decision. "This is because we still have to do comparisons between the two proposed alignments to see what are the constraints," the Transport Minister said when answering a question raised by Datuk Jalaluddin Alias (BN-Jelebu) in Dewan Rakyat on Monday (Aug 3). Jalaluddin wanted to know if there would be changes to the ECRL alignment where the original proposed alignment was changed by the former Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration after coming into power in 2018. Dr Wee said that talks would be held with the Selangor state government this week to see how best to move forward with the proposed ECRL. "We will be meeting the Selangor government once again to look at options which will benefit the people of Selangor while addressing their concerns. "This includes the Klang Gates Quartz Ridge and Batu Dam," he said. He also cited an example where four Orang Asli settlements would be affected in Selangor under the present alignment compared to only one under the original plans. "There will be no land acquisition until the alignment has been finalised," he assured. Besides the environmental and social impact assessments (SIA) for the project, Dr Wee noted any decision on the new alignment would also take into consideration its cost implications and viability in light of the current economic outlook. "At the present situation, we need to do the best for the people and look at the viability of the project. "This is because the viability of the project is based on a ratio of 30% passenger and 70% cargo. "If there aren't 30% of passengers or 70% cargo, then the project will not be viable," he added. Earlier, Dr Wee said the proposed ECRL alignment is divided into three sections, namely Kota Baru to Dungun (Section A), Dungun to Mentakab (Section B) and Mentakab to Port Klang (Section C). The 640km ECRL, linking Kuantan Port and Port Klang, was proposed by the Barisan Nasional government. The RM60bil project was to have been completed in 2024 but came under review to cut cost when Pakatan took over in May 2018. The project completion date was moved to 2026 and at a cost of RM44bil. ENDs. Keywords: Wee Ka Siong, ECRL, Alignment, Cost, Environment