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Malaysia seeks to reroute $10.6bn China ECRL rail project

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People work at the construction site of the Kuantan tunnel of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) in Pahang state, Malaysia, Aug. 11, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhu Wei)

KUALA LUMPUR (Bangkok Post) – Malaysia’s government on Tuesday said it will seek to reroute a $10.6 billion rail project being built across the peninsula under China’s “Belt and Road” trade initiative, and as a result will reassess the cost and schedule with the Chinese contractor.

The government revived the 640 km East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) last year with a budget cut by a third to 44 billion ringgit ($10.57 billion) after halting the project in 2018.

It contracted the Malaysian unit of China Communications Construction Co Ltd, CCC-ECRL, to build the line.

Deputy Transport Minister Hasbi Habibollah in parliament on Tuesday said the government plans to revert to the original route detailed in 2017 but with minor changes around the south of the capital Kuala Lumpur.

“The government will renegotiate with the Chinese government and the main contractor of the project to ascertain the cost implication and project implementation schedule,” Hasbi said.

He said the results of the renegotiation will be presented to the government to finalise the route.

The cost of the project incorporating the rerouting will be more or less the same as at present, and will not return to the higher cost of the original plan, Hasbi said.

 

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