Pua: Does MCA’s Liow even know what he’s talking about?


KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 7, 2016: A DAP lawmaker today scoffed at Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai’s apparent ignorance over the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project, questioning if the latter really knew his facts about the multi-billion ringgit project.


DAP Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua in a statement questioned if Liow, who is also MCA president, is shooting from the hip when claiming that the project would not cost RM55 billion.


“Does Liow really know what he is talking about when he said the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) doesn’t cost RM55 billion? He tried to allay the concerns of the Malaysian public by claiming that the RM55 billion is not the cost of construction.  Instead, he claims that it is merely the value of the Financing Framework Agreement,” Pua said.


“We have no idea whether the Transport Minister knows what he is talking about or whether he has even seen or read the above agreements given that his Deputy told the Parliament that he could not answer ECRL queries because it was not under the purview of the Transport Ministry but is instead under the Prime Mininster’s Department control,” Pua added.


Pua also pointed out that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak had disclosed during his Budget 2017 address that “the 600-km rail will connect townships such as Port Klang, ITT Gombak, Bentong, Mentakab, Kuantan, Kemaman, Kerteh, Kuala Terengganu, Kota Bharu and ends in Tumpat, with an estimated cost of RM55 billion.”


“The question hence arises as to whether Datuk Seri Liow, who is also the MCA President is merely shooting off his hip,” Pua added.


Pua also questioned the high cost of the project.


 “The Edge Financial Weekly quoted an executive from a construction outfit who said that at RM55 billion, the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) “could be the most expensive rail infrastructure project in the world in its class… it’s a good project but not at this ridiculous price.”


“The Edge cited the examples of the 215km Padma rail line in Bangladesh and 120km  Mombasa rail link in Kenya which were being constructed by China Rail Construction Corp for RM68.1 million and RM61.4 million per kilometer respectively.  For another project in Ethoipia awarded to Turkish contractor, Yapi Merkezi, the 375km Awash-Weldia railway line of which more than 40% is built on challenging terrain, the cost was only US$1.7 billion or RM18.1 million per kilometer.


“The question hence arises as to why is the Malaysian government awarding the 600km ECRL project to China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) at RM55 billion or RM91.7 million per kilometer without any open competitive tender exercise?” Pua said.


The ECRL project was inked between Malaysia and China last week during Najib’s official visit to China. 



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