However, employees are not affected at the moment as only the site project is stopped. Moreover, the ECRL construction work is still going on, and the Malaysia Rail Link (MRL) staff are getting paid as usual.
The work on the ECRL project – from the development of tunnels to procurement – was immediately suspended so as not to affect the progress of the project and construction costs. The 688km ECRL was estimated to cost RM55bil and to be completed in 2024. Hundreds of suppliers of construction materials and more than 100 contractors are unable to start work under the shutdown order.
The report stated: “It is learnt that the affected suppliers and contractors hope that the matter can be resolved as soon as possible so that they can resume work.”
The East Rail project officially started on 9 Aug 2017. The seven-year project was originally scheduled for completion in 2024. Under the project, Malaysia has raised RM55bil from China, of which 85% of the loans were provided by the Export-Import Bank of China and 15% by Islamic bonds.
The project is divided into three phases - from the Klang Valley to Kuantan, Kuantan to Kuala Terengganu and Kuala Terengganu to Kota Baru and Tumpat in Kelantan.
According to the progress report of the East Coast Railway Project in Bentong Station as of 19 April 2018, the project directly created more than 2,000 jobs for the country, and the localisation ratio of employees (including all branches of China Communications) was 70%.
Recruitment plan for this year included 2,873 local employees. This included 790 engineers, safety officers, and QA/QC positions; and 2,083 people in over 40 types of jobs - such as steel workers, concrete workers, test workers, drivers, woodworking, plumbers, and welders.
Additionally, the training programme was jointly implemented by CCCC and Malaysian Railway Link and Pahang University of Malaysia. It was funded by CCCC (RM23mil) to promote East Coast Railway Project and development of Malaysia Rail Transit.
Photo / 123RF