Although Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong has stated that reverting the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) alignment was suggested by Pahang MB Rosdy Wan Ismail, Negeri Sembilan Exco Teo Kok Seong has set the record straight.
Kok Seong told Malaysiakini that it was Wee Ka Siong who kept pushing for the original alignment by the Barisan Nasional government, a plan which unfortunately did not take Negeri Sembilan into consideration.
Kok Seong confirmed that while it was Wan Rosdy who first proposed the reversion, it was Wee who was desperate to see it through.
It is completely understandable that Rosdy who represents Pahang would look out for his state’s best interest. But Wee on the other hand, is representing the federal government. He must look into the welfare of all states.
According to Teo, Wee had no issue abandoning Negeri Sembilan.
Under the original alignment by BN, the ECRL would pass through Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang before entering Selangor from the north through Gombak and making its way to Serendah and Port Klang.
The PH government altered the alignment so that it wouldn’t go through Bentong and Gombak as initially planned, thus avoiding the need for a costly 17.8km tunnel through the Klang Gates Quartz Ridge.
Instead, from Mentakab in Pahang, it would run south to Kuala Klawang in Negeri Sembilan before entering Selangor through Bangi/ Kajang and then proceeding to Putrajaya Sentral and finally Port Klang.
“Once the ECRL line returns to the previous plan, without going through Negeri Sembilan, the people from Negeri Sembilan will not benefit from it, especially the development of industrial zones of Nilai and the town area of Kuala Klawang. ”
Teo added that he has informed the Prime Minister of Negeri Sembilan’s stand, which is to remain with the plan made by Pakatan Harapan in order to benefit its people.
According to Teo, Muhyiddin has clarified that the federal government will study this plan and seek perspectives from other parties. A committee will also be formed to study Package C (BN’s previous package).
Meanwhile, Umno’s Jelebu MP Jalaluddin Alias objected to the proposal to revert to BN’s original ECRL alignment and instead, wanted to maintain the new alignment by Harapan. Teo also called upon all Negeri Sembilan MPs or ADUNs irrespective of parties to defend the interest of the state, and reject the PN government’s intention to revert to the original ECRL plan.
ECRL was launched by former Prime Minister Najib Razak, and covers a total of 640 km in railway link connecting different parts of the east coast with the west coast in Peninsular Malaysia.
Pakatan Harapan was able to reduce the cost of the project by RM21 billion, bringing the price down from RM65 billion to RM44 billion last year.