ECRL’s new agreement is RM21.5 Billion cheaper. (lots of money saved!)

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It’s announced in all major media outlets already. The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) will now be proceeding with the same China vendor. As per the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO)’s announcement today, an improved deal is signed. The PMO office confirmed that a supplementary agreement between Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) and the China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC) is signed. It’s good news for Malaysia. PMO said in a statement, “We are pleased to announce that the construction cost for Phases 1 and 2 of the ECRL has now been reduced to RM44 billion, a reduction of RM21.5 billion, from its original cost of RM65.5 billion. Further details of the improved deal will be provided during Monday’s press conference.” The PMO said the SA covers the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning aspects of the ECRL project.

ECRL supplementary agreement was negotiated by PM’s special envoy Tun Daim Zainuddin who flew to Beijing yesterday to finalise the deal. Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is expected to attend the second Belt and Road Forum in the Chinese capital, which starts April 26. The ECRL is a 688km rail project to connect the east and west coasts of peninsular Malaysia across the Titiwangsa mountain range. Please read the article in here

There were also news that the ECRL’s current route will benefit Negeri Sembilan too. Read here for what our Transport Minister Anthony Loke has to say about the ECRL’s negotiation just days ago. Another news article in South China Morning Post (click to read full article) here has these comments. “The East Coast Rail Link is so important in China’s Belt and Road Initiative,” said Cheng Xiaohe, associate professor of international studies at China’s Renmin University. “If it had been cancelled, the relations between China and Malaysia would have been downgraded significantly,” Cheng said.The professor said he believed Mahathir never intended to cancel the project, and instead had been seeking “a better deal from China”. South China Morning Post (click to read full article)

For me, this is positive news because ECRL is now cheaper. It will also meant that our relationship with China will remain as strong as ever because ECRL is part of the Belt and Road Initiative by China. Let’s understand that moving forward, Asia will be the centre stage of the world and China will be the largest economy in the world in just a few years’ time. Now, let’s wait for more details in the upcoming announcement yeah. I will report as soon as we have new developments.

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<Featured Image is courtesy of Stock Photos from Denis Belitsky>

Article written and edited by Charles. News article summarised by Dina Batrisyia.

written on 12 April 2019

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