PORT KLANG, Feb 13 — The construction of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) is progressing as scheduled despite the COVID-19 outbreak.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook said the rail project, which will connect Port Klang and Kota Bharu, Kelantan is currently 15 per cent complete.

He said 13 ECRL workers, who went back to China for the Chinese New Year holiday last month, have yet to return to Malaysia and their absence has not affected the construction as most of the workers are locals.

“We have also not received any request from the financing company, Export-Import Bank of China (EXIM), to delay the payment of funds for this project. We are confident that ECRL will be fully operational in January 2027,” he said after visiting the ECRL Project Public Inspection site here today.

Accompanying him were Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) chairman Tan Sri Ismail Bakar and MRL chief executive officer Datuk Seri Darwis Abd Razak.

Loke said the ECRL will complement the National Transport Policy in the government’s aspiration to increase cargo movement via railway rather than roads.

“Aside from reducing the number of heavy vehicles on the road, the ECRL will also connect two ports in Port Klang, namely West Port and the proposed Carey Island Port,” he said.

The ECRL project, which was initially suspended by the government in July 2018 pending negotiations to lower construction costs, was resumed after MRL and China Communications Construction Company Ltd signed a supplementary agreement on April 12, 2019.

The agreement entailed reducing the project costs to RM21.5 billion from the original RM65.5 billion.


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