The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project in Malaysia has reached 30% construction completion mark, reported Chinese state-run news channel CGTN.

A part of China’s Belt and Road initiative, the 655km long project will connect the eastern coast of Malaysia with the western part of the country. China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) is serving as the main contractor for the project.

The project entails an investment of around $12bn.

Notably, the project works were suspended in 2018 due to financial reasons. Construction works subsequently resumed in 2019 following the signing of revised agreements.

In the report, CGTN added that the excavation work has begun on the Genting Tunnel of the project.

Meanwhile, CCCC is running a programme for young Malaysians in a bid to hire local talent for the construction and operation stages of the project.

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Facility relocation manager Wan Azman Bin Wan told the publication that they are planning to recruit 5,000 railway construction and operation workers to improve local involvement.

Once complete, ECRL will improve connectivity and will reduce journey times between Kuala Lumpur and Kota Bharu to less than four hours.

The project is also expected to contribute around 2.7% to the economic growth of the country, according to Malaysia Industrial Development Finance. The project is slated for completion in 2027.

Recently, Ekovest Construction (ECSB) secured a $447m contract for Malaysia-Singapore high-speed railway project.