KUALA LUMPUR – The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project, undertaken by Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) and China Communications Construction Company Ltd, will cost about RM66 billion or higher, says Tun Daim Zainuddin.
The chairman of the newly-formed Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) said the RM55 billion cost that had been widely published only covered the first phase of the mega project.
“It’s not RM55 billion. If (you) include the second phase, it will be another RM11 billion.
“If you take into account the interest rate and all, probably (the total cost) will be much more,” he told a press conference at his office here today.
However, Daim said, he would let the government announce the total cost.
He was responding to a question on Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s remark yesterday regarding the inaccuracy of the former government’s economic figures.
Over the past six days, the CEP has had 40 meetings and met 50 individuals from different backgrounds, including senior government officers and representatives from government-linked companies, non-governmental organisations and the corporate sector.
Today the council summoned Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd Group President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Datuk Zakaria Arshad, National Felda Settlers’ Children Association Chairman Mazlan Aliman, Felda former Director-General Datuk Hanapi Suhada, Felda Investment Corporation Sdn Bhd Chairman Datuk Syed Mohamed Syed Ibrahim and Felcra Bhd CEO Datuk Zulkarnain Md Eusope.
MRL’s briefing session with the CEP was held on May 16.
Asked about the possibility of the government cancelling the ECRL project, Daim said: “I don’t know (because) this (the agreement) is government-to-government.
“I think the Chinese government is very friendly and we have a long relationship with the Chinese government, since 1994.
“For the last 22 years under Tun Mahathir’s (leadership) we never had any problem. We worked very closely together and I think we will continue to work very closely,” he added.
The 688km ECRL project will link Port Klang, Selangor, with Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan.
The project, which is expected to be completed by 2024, also involves 28 stations that offer passenger and cargo rail services.- BERNAMA