If we want a region to develop, we must link the region to all areas in the country, says Najib
Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak said the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project proves the determination of the government to undertake major and significant changes in Kelantan and other states in the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia.
The prime minister said the ECRL would change the economic landscape and life of the people in Kelantan and all the states in the East Coast in various fields.
“If we want a particular region to develop, we must link the region to all areas in the country.
“Transportation that links one region to the other areas will bring significant changes,” he said at the groundbreaking ceremony for the ECRL project at the Kelantan state level in Tunjong, Kota Baru, yesterday.
Also present were International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd chairman Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah and China Communications Construction (ECRL) Sdn Bhd executive MD Bai Yinzhan.
The RM55 billion ECRL project, that would involve a 688km long route, links to Port Klang, Selangor, with Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan.
The project also involves 28 stations that offer passenger and cargo rail services, and is expected to be ready in June 2024.
“In the US, the west side area had developed because of the availability of railway communication, and so were the wild west or cowboy areas such as the ones in California and so on, because the pioneers were railway communication.
“The same was also true in the other areas in the world, where efficient railway services that were modern and dependable had been injected in the development of a particular region,” the prime minister said.
Najib said in the context of Kelantan, the existence of the ECRL would speed up travelling time, especially from Kota Baru to Kuala Lumpur and vice versa.
In a separate Bernama report, Najib described the ECRL as an ambitious aim to develop a modern, efficient and well-connected transport network that would make a huge difference to the people’s lives, and keep the country on course to beco-ming a high-income nation.
The mass rapid transit is expected to create 130,000 jobs, while the ECRL construction alone will create over 80,000 jobs, he said.
As for the high-speed rail (HSR) project, it will provide about 22,000 jobs for professional and skilled workers, and leverage the synergies along the railway.
The estimated impact of the HSR over a 50-year period is expected to be an extra RM650 billion in gross national income (GNI) and a massive 442,000 new jobs.
Najib said due to the government’s responsible approach, along with the hard work of millions of Malaysians, the National Transformation Programme has delivered.
The country had seen its GNI increasing by over 50%, with the creation of 2.7 million new jobs, including over one million high-income jobs, he added.