KUALA TERENGGANU (April 15): Six East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) stations will be built in Terengganu, hence proving that the state is not being bypassed in implementing the project as alleged by some quarters.
Council of Eminent Persons chairman, Tun Daim Zainuddin said the people of Terengganu should not be upset or confused with the decision on a new alignment for the ECRL despite the reduction in the project cost by RM21.5 billion to RM44 billion from RM65.5 billion previously.
“The plan is that there will be six stations in Terengganu. There will be the passenger, cargo and also passenger-cum-cargo stations….but I can’t remember the breakdown figures.
"The ECRL will pass through Terengganu….won’t go past it (to Mentakab),” said Daim who was in Terengganu for the Darul Iman Talk titled, “Bumiputera Economy: National Agenda’, yesterday.
Based on the proposed new ECRL alignment, the six stations in Terengganu will be Chukai, Kemasik, Dungun, Pengkalan Berangan, Kuala Terengganu and Kampung Raja.
The ECRL project will resume following the signing of a supplementary agreement (SA) between Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) and China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC).
Besides reduced cost, the new alignment from Kota Bharu-Mentakab-Jelebu-Kuala Kelawang-Bangi/Kajang-Putrajaya and on to Port Klang will also see a reduced distance to 648 kilometres from the original 688km.
Daim said the SA between MRL and CCCC would see increased involvement of local contractors to 40 per cent from 30 per cent before this.
He said the project would also spur the growth of ancillary industries like homestay and retail businesses when ready.
“We will see a lot of involvement of big and small businesses. This opportunity will be a good test for entrepreneurs in Terengganu and elsewhere in the East Coast that they are capable of meeting the demand and competing,” he added.
On the future of Malay entrepreneurs, Daim, a former finance minister, said their lot could only be changed through education, besides not being too dependent on government assistance.
He also stressed that they should have courage and think outside the box to be able to compete up to the international level.
“When we talk about the economy and Bumiputera agenda, we should start with education but we cannot stop just there.
"Education should be promoted and practised as a lifelong learning process and our thinking should also change, otherwise we will stagnate,” he said.