KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today fired a shot at detractors who claimed that the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project is equivalent to selling off the country’s sovereignty.
Najib said while he was aware of such sentiments, he stressed that the aim of the project was to provide comfort to the people.
“Some quarters criticised this effort, saying that we are selling off the country’s sovereignty. I’m sure everyone understands that this project has nothing to do with our sovereignty.
“This project is for the people, for their comfort and also for benefit of the country. Just like how we form cooperation with China and Saudi Arabia. It’s for the country’s benefit,” he said when launching the ECRL public inspection exercise at Platinum Sentral, here today.
ECRL is part of the East Coast Economic Plan with the objective of achieving equitable growth and development between the Easy and West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia.
The planned construction period is from July 2017 to June 2024 and upon completion, is expected to bring significant connectivity and mobility to the people of Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and Klang Valley.
Travelling time from ITT Gombak to Wakaf Baru, which represents the entire length of the main line, will be under four hours.
In November last year, Najib’s biggest critic and former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad warned that several deals being inked by Najib with China may end up threatening Malaysia’s sovereignty.
This, he said, included Malaysia’s territorial claim in the South China Sea, which is also being claimed by China, as well as on Malaysia’s loan of RM55 billion from China to construct the ECRL.
According to Najib, the project is expected to create up to 1.5pc growth in the East Coast, describing it as a game-changing project that would boost the economy of the states.
“This project is really beneficial to the country and it would change our lifestyle.
“Each time the public plans to go to other states by driving, it will take them up to eight hours, but with ECRL they will be able to save more time.”-NST