New Deal Sees ECRL to Resume at RM44B

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New route, Gombak stop eliminated, 40km shorter.

The construction cost for Phase 1 and 2 of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project has been reduced to RM44 billion under a new deal agreed with China, said the Prime Minister’s Office today.

The statement said the new cost is a reduction of RM21.5 billion from its original cost of RM65.5 billion.

“This reduction will surely benefit Malaysia and lighten the burden on the country’s financial position.”

As part of the renegotiated deal, Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) today signed a supplementary agreement with China Communications Construction Company Ltd to start the resumption of the project.

The agreement covers the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning aspects of the ECRL.

“This was achieved after months of negotiations between the companies involved as well as the governments of Malaysia and the Republic of China,” said the PMO.

More details on the improved deal will be provided by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Monday.

The announcement today ends months of uncertainty over the future of the China-backed project.

Special envoy Daim Zainuddin led the negotiation on behalf of the Malaysian government. He is in Beijing now to conclude discussions.

The RM21.5 billion that Malaysia is saving is enough to build two more Petronas Twin Towers, said Daim.

“The new link is 648km, 40km shorter,” he told the Malaysian media on Friday (April 12).

He revealed that the Gombak stop has been eliminated.

The new route is through Kota Baru-Mentakab-Jelebu-Kuala Kelawang-Bangi/Kajang-Putrajaya-Pelabuhan Klang.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng and Transport Minister Anthony Loke had said last week that the ECRL line could be rerouted to include stops in Negri Sembilan.

On the original plan, the route in Phase 1 was Kota Baru-Kuala Terengganu-Kuantan-Bentong-ITT Gombak, and Phase 2 was Gombak North-Serendah-Port Klang and Kota Baru-Pengkalan Kubor.

Dr Mahathir suspended the project shortly after Pakatan Harapan took over the government last May, citing its exorbitant cost and “unfair” terms agreed upon by his predecessor Najib Razak.

Putrajaya had hinted it would cancel the project but retracted its stand when faced with a huge cancellation fee.

The 688km rail project is to connect the east and west coasts of Peninsular Malaysia across the Titiwangsa mountain range.

Earlier report: Apr 11, Report: Malaysia Close to Sealing ECRL Revival Deal