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Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Don't blame Selangor govt for ECRL losses - state exco

The federal government cannot blame the Selangor state government for its losses resulting from the delay over the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project's realignment agreement, said state exco Izham Hashim.

Izham (above) was responding to MRL chairperson Mohd Zuki Ali who had said the federal government incurred about RM1.25 million losses daily due to the Selangor government's decision to postpone the ECRL's realignment agreement.

"Since the Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) proposal to the Selangor Economic Action Council on July 17, 2019, the state government has scrutinised all the options given and is of the stand that the southern line is the best option.

"Even though there were efforts to 'correct' the northern line, the state government remains unconvinced by the justifications given by the federal government to maintain that line," he said in a statement today.

Izham, who is the Selangor infrastructure and agriculture exco, said he also welcomed Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong's statement that the implementation of the ECRL was not politically-motivated.

He said the Selangor administration also does not politicise anything involving the state's development.

"That is why no development project suggested by the federal government will be rejected merely because of political differences," he said.

Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong

Wee said that the original alignment, called the ECRL 3.0 alignment, maximised the economic and technical advantages for the whole project and its spillover effects.

The transport minister said the ECRL 3.0 alignment, which includes the northern line in Selangor, was to complete the formation of the national cargo hub in Serendah and increase the efficiency of the Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB) and ECRL cargo services.

However, Izham said the Selangor government has always asserted that the southern line (Hulu Langat-Sepang-Westport) is the best option for the ECRL route in Selangor, compared to the northern line (Gombak-Serendah-Pelabuhan Klang).

The southern line, he said, is estimated to cost RM5.4 billion cheaper than the northern line, and it would also open up a lot of new economic areas in the southern part of the state.

Izham added that this would also facilitate the development of the west port, which is an important port in the country.

The state exco said the southern line would also prevent disturbances to the water catchment area around the Selangor river basin, which accounts for 60 percent of the drinking water supply to both Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.

The state government also understands the importance of a route through Serendah for KTMB cargo, Izham said, but there is no need to combine the ECRL and KTMB routes.

"Both their tracks have different standards and thickness. So the state government has proposed for a KTMB cargo line to be built going through Serendah, whereas the ECRL would use the southern line.

"All of this can be done with the same amount of cost and without disturbing the sensitivity of the water catchment area at the Selangor river," he said.

Izham hoped the federal government and MRL would respect the state government's decision in the ECRL issue.

At the same time, he added, the state is ready to cooperate with them at any time to speed up the construction of the ECRL through the southern line in Selangor. - Mkini


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