KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian government will own 100 per cent of all East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) assets and the joint venture with China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC) will not post any threat to national security, says Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL).
The government would fully own all the assets through MRL from the beginning to the end of the joint management, operation and maintenance (MOM) arrangement, it said in a statement today to clarify misleading information on the ECRL project.
MRL said the 50:50 joint venture (JV) between it and CCCC would not post any threat to national security as the JV company would be under the management of Malaysia.
“The directors of the JV company and the appointment of the chief executive officer will be at the discretion of MRL,” it explained.
It said one must distinguish between ownership and joint operations.
“The joint operations arrangement does not in any way whatsoever, involve ceding any form of ownership of the ECRL to CCCC.
“It is purely about the sharing of MOM costs plus the exchange of technical know-how and expertise between CCCC and MRL,” it said.
Ex-premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak was reported as saying it was not right for a Chinese company to be involved in the ECRL project by managing 50 per cent of the rail system, as it involved national security.
MRL also said claims that the improved ECRL project would cause travel time from Kota Bharu to Kuala Lumpur to increase to five to six hours were misleading, as it would in fact only take about four hours.
“The distance from Kota Bharu to Putrajaya Sentral under the new Southern Alignment is 550 kilometres (km) covering 17 stations, whereas the distance from Kota Bharu to Gombak under the previous alignment was 525km covering 18 stations.
“With a travel speed of 160km per hour, the additional 25km adds a time of less than 10 minutes to the journey, which will be further reduced due to the reduction of one stop,” it said.
MRL also clarified the claim that cost reduction for the ECRL project was due the new alignment negating the need for an 18 km tunnel passing through the Titiwangsa range and the reduction in the number of stations to be built.
It said the entire cost of the original ECRL project, including double tracking cost, would have been RM65.5 billion, included the purported “RM10 billion tunnel” (Genting Tunnel) through the Titiwangsa range.
“If we were to dispense the Genting Tunnel, the cost would still have been at RM55.5 billion.
“With the new alignment, the number of stations is now 20. The further reduction in cost from RM55.5 billion to RM44 billion would not have solely been due to four stations being omitted,” it added. – Bernama