By ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN / Pic By TMR
Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL), owner of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project, said it has secured all existing ECRL construction sites to minimise any damage or deterioration to the site during the suspension period ordered by the Finance Ministry (MoF).
MRL also reaffirmed that works on the RM81 billion project have been suspended amid recent reports by an English and Chinese daily suggesting otherwise.
“Securing the site also means ensuring all safety and environmental requirements imposed by relevant authorities were observed and complied with at all times, including over the period of works suspension,” MRL said in a statement yesterday.
“As of July 8, 2018, China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC) was still carrying out some site securement works to comply with MRL’s instruction.
“CCCC or its sub-contractors’ workers will be present on site to carry out these works until MRL is satisfied that all ECRL
construction sites have been duly secured. In addition, security personnel will be present to guard the premises to prevent any security breach,” it added.
MRL, an entity under MoF Inc, explained that upon receiving the suspension order of all construction works and services from MoF Minister Lim Guan Eng on July 3, the project’s contractors were notified and told to carry out site securement works.
The firm slammed news reports that suggest construction work on the ECRL was ongoing despite the issuance of the suspension order were “inaccurate and misleading”.
“Once the site is properly secured, no other works shall proceed until further notice from MRL,” the company said.
The 688km rail link is among several China-backed infrastructure projects that have been suspended.
It comes as the new government seeks to renegotiate terms of the deal with Beijing.
Lim is expected to visit China soon to conduct high-level talks on the project ahead of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s trip in August.
Council of Eminent Persons chair Tun Daim Zainuddin will also be heading to China as part of the efforts to renegotiate the terms and costs of the ECRL and two pipeline projects under Suria Strategic Energy Resources Sdn Bhd.
It is said that if renegotiations go well, the project can be resumed within two to three months.
CCCC has expressed its disappointment on the work suspension order and said it had no choice but to comply with the instruction.
While the duration of the suspension has not been specified, the state-owned company is concerned about incurring additional cost, losses and damages arising from the suspension.
“We are upset and concerned about the livelihood of our 2,250 local staff, as well as several hundred sub-contractors, suppliers and consultancy firms,” it added.
The firm wishes for both sides to be able to find a win-win solution through “sincere negotiation with good will”, adding that it hopes the suspension will be lifted as soon as possible for the benefit of all parties.