Future East Coast Rail Link To Boost Economic Growth
The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), which is set to be completed in 2024, is predicted to boost the economic growth of the country and attract more foreign investments.
Malaysia-China Silk Road Business Chamber Chairman Tan Sri Ong Tee Keat said due to the inclusion with China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the ECRL would attract investments, especially from China.
He said such investments will enhance the growth in the east coast states of Peninsular Malaysia, especially in Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang as this will drive better opportunities with multiple industries, including tourism.
“The east coast states hold great economic potential, but it is facing a set back due to limited access to transportation infrastructure, particularly rail infrastructure. Not only the ECRL is needed now, the development of the project should be expedited due to its significance to the country,” he said.
Ong, who is also former transport minister, said the ECRL had been planned in 1980s and revisited in 1999, but it was never executed.
He said if the ECRL had been built a decade ago, the economic prospects would have been different but it was not too late to change the landscape with its implementation in the future.
“The ECRL is not only relevant to Malaysia’s economic growth but also gives us a competitive edge over other countries in the region as it will cut the time and cost of transporting our products, especially to China,” he said.
The rail link, which will be developed in two phases with 26 stations, will connect Port Klang in Selangor to Pengkalan Kubor in Kelantan and cut across Pahang and Terengganu.
Meanwhile, statistics from the Ministry of International Trade and Investment showed China remained Malaysia’s largest trading partner for the ninth consecutive year since 2009.
Last year, trading with China increased by 20.6 per cent to RM290.65 billion, while exports to China rose 28 per cent to RM126.15 billion.