Malaysia seeks to reroute $14b East Coast Rail Link project under Belt and Road initiative

The government revived the 640km East Coast Rail Link in 2019 with a budget cut.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's government on Tuesday (Sept 8) said it will seek to reroute a U$10.6 billion (S$14.48 billion) rail project being built across the peninsula under China's Belt and Road trade initiative, and will reassess the cost and schedule with the Chinese contractor.

The government revived the 640km East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) last year with the budget cut by a third to RM44 billion ($14.43 billion) after halting the project in 2018.

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

Deputy Transport Minister Hasbi Habibollah said in Parliament on Tuesday that 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," Mr Hasbi said.

The results of the renegotiation will be presented to the government to finalise the route, he said, adding that 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.