Total ECRL cost estimated at RM81b

However, finance minister points out that govt has yet to finalise the direction of the project

By P PREM KUMAR & DASHVEENJIT KAUR

The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project is estimated to cost RM80.92 billion, an evaluation that covers the construction and upgrading of all the phases, as well as other expenditures including operational cost, interests and land acquisition.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the total cost of the railway construction for ECRL’s first, second and upgrading phases is RM66.78 billion.

“However, that cost does not include other costs such as land acquisition, interests, fees and other operating costs, which adds up to RM80.92 billion,” Lim said in a written parliamentary reply.

He was responding to a query from MP Nurul Izzah Anwar (Pakatan Harapan-Permatang Pauh) who asked the government to state the financial details in the ECRL construction contract and methods to finance the entire cost.

Lim said besides the total construction cost of RM69.83 billion, the ECRL project will incur a working capital of RM50 million, operational cost of RM500 million, total financing cost of RM11.1 billion, land cost of RM2.5 billion, interests at RM7.44 billion, sukuk coupons at RM3.19 billion, commitment fees at RM238 million and management fees at RM216 million.

The minister said all ECRL project-related works and services have been suspended until further notice, under the instruction of the ministry.

“The Malaysian government has yet to finalise the direction of this project,” he pointed out.

On July 3, 2018, the government has directed project owner Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd to issue a suspension notice immediately to the main contractor, China Communications Construction Co Ltd and China Communications Construction Co (M) Sdn Bhd.

The first phase of ECRL involves 600.3km of rail road connecting Gombak and Tumpat, Kelantan, with an estimated cost of RM46 billion.

The second phase development linking Gombak and Port Klang in an 88km rail project is expected to cost RM9 billion.

The original project scope involved building a rail line from the Integrated Transport Terminal Gombak in Selangor to Wakaf Baru in Kelantan at a cost of RM46 billion.