KUALA LUMPUR,Nov 18: The government said today the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) will continue despite the Covid-19 pandemic, and that 19% of the project has been completed up to October.
Deputy Transport Minister Hasbi Habibollah said construction is ahead of the scheduled 18.3% by 0.79%.
“The project will continue as the construction has started, especially at Sections A and B,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat when replying to a question from June Leow Hsiad Hui (PH-Hulu Selangor).
Leow had asked if the project will continue as the country fights the pandemic, and the justification for not halting it.
Hasbi said Section A from Kota Bharu to Dungun, with six stations in Kota Bharu, Pasir Putih, Jerteh, Bandar Permaisuri, Kuala Terengganu and Dungun, had been approved in May.
“As of now, physical work (of this section) is ahead by 0.16%,” he said..
As for Section B from Dungun to Temerloh, he said 5.93% of the construction work has been completed, and is ahead of schedule by 1.86%. The stretch includes tunnels in Dungun, Paka and Kuantan.
Section C of the project includes construction of the rail link from Temerloh to Port Klang.
On Aug 3, Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong said the government, through Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL), had paid a total of RM20.37 billion to ECRL lead contractor China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC).
Work on the project was temporarily halted from July 3, 2018 to April 12, 2019, while the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government renegotiated the contract with the Chinese government.
On the conclusion of the talks, the PH government said the parties had agreed to reduce the overall cost by RM21.5 billion to RM44 billion, from an earlier estimate of RM65.5 billion, when the project was mooted by the Barisan Nasional government.