The RM55 billion East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) is expected to help create RM50.1 billion of gross domestic products (GDP) impact, project owner Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) said today. MRL said the World Economic Forum estimates that every dollar spent on a capital project, such as transport, generates economic return of between 5% and 25%.

“The ECRL project was undertaken with such objective to allow more townships across the four states  of Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and Selangor to have greater access to trade and business opportunities produced by not only our nation but also the greater regions in Southeast Asia, Asia and the world,” said MRL.

MRL chief executive officer Darwis Abdul Razak said the 600.3km rail link is expected to lower the cost of production by reducing the cost of freight transportation. “This way, we are able to increase the competitiveness of Malaysian products and services. With ECRL’s vast coverage, connecting East Coast cities to the Greater Klang Valley demand centre, we also anticipate an increase in commercial activities across the region,” he said.

Darwis confirmed that the first of ECRL’s 23 stations is Wakaf Bahru, Kelantan, while the final station is Gombak, Kuala Lumpur, where passengers will then have to transit by using Light Rail Transit (LRT) Kelana Jaya Line to connect to the city centre.

Darwis said that together with the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD), MRL is committed to keep the four-hour travelling cost on ECRL ‘affordable’, and to provide a safer alternative to travelling on roads.

“The ECRL also is a much needed project to help improve the mobility of Malaysians travelling from the east to the west and vice versa, especially during festive seasons, as well as to promote the local tourism industry,” Darwis said.

“The project had been put through three feasibility studies prior its launch. As such, please rest assured that MRL has the communities’ best interest in mind, especially those residing within the vicinity of the track route. In the next seven years, MRL will take proactive steps to engage with the local people to ensure the successful rollout of ECRL,” he added.

TEM