East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) is currently doing public display in Surahanjaya Pengangkutan Awam Darat (SPAD) headquarters as required under the S.84 of the SPAD Act.
To my surprise, only 16.7km of Selangor portion from Titiwangsa range to Gombak is in the display, a big portion of the Selangor part of ECRL is left out from the public display (see attached the picture of the brochure.) According to the SPAD personnel there, the “missing link” from Gombak to Port Klang, which is at least another 60km, will be in the second phase of the project.
This is very strange. The proponents of this project have always sing highly of the potential of ECRL to connect ports on the east and west coasts of Peninsular Malaysia, i.e Kuantan and Port Klang. They said that this could alter regional trade route with the new link enable exporters to bypass Singapore to reach to their respective destinations.
In fact, The Straits Time quoted Malaysian government planners that “the priority will be placed on the construction of the 250km section that will connect Kuantan with Port Klang. When completed, the ECRL would become a major land bridge for trade in and out of Asia.” If Kuantan-Port Klang connection is important, why is it that Gombak-Port Klang route not in the public display?
We are very suspicious as to why Selangor part of ECRL is not in the public display. Is the federal government trying to exclude Selangor state government from the decision-making process and later on push down our throat whatever their plan is? Is the federal government trying to hide something about the project?
With that, we call upon Suruhanjaya Pengangkutan Awam Darat (SPAD) to explain their plan regarding ECRL in Selangor. ECRL is a hugely overpriced infrastruture project and once the alignment in Selangor is finalized, probably around 1000 pieces of land need to be acquired to build it. It will give a lot of economical and social impact to the people of Selangor. Hence the Selangor state government and Selangorians deserve to be better informed about the project. The Selangor state government should be a part of the decision-making process.
We would like to reiterate our demand for transparency for ECRL project. The ECRL project deal has been shrouded with secrecies so far. Instead of defending the project endlessly with incongruous answers, the federal government should disclose the following documents:
i. all the relevant studies on the ECRL, including the feasibility studies done by HSS Integrated Sdn Bhd;
ii the framework financing agreement and engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning contract signed in Beijing on 1 Nov 2017; and
iii. the estimated riderships and the future price for passengers’ train tickets and cargo transportations to make the project at this price tag economically viable.
Only with the information above that the people can judge if the project is fairly priced and if the financing of the project is proper.