Malaysia is planning to realign the $10.7bn East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), a key project being built under China’s Belt and Road initiative.
According to a Reuters report, the Malaysian Government plans to revert to the original route with minor changes. The proposed changes include some realignment around the south of Kuala Lumpur.
As a result, the government will reassess the cost and schedule of the project to enable the rerouting.
In the parliament, Malaysian Deputy Transport Minister Hasbi Habibollah was quoted by the news agency as saying: “The government will renegotiate with the Chinese government and the main contractor of the project to ascertain the cost implication and project implementation schedule.”
He added that the outcome of the renegotiation will be placed before the government for approval.
Last year, Malaysia revived the ECRL project after suspending works on the rail link in 2018 due to high costs. However, the scope and cost of the project were significantly reduced to lighten the financial burden.
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Estimated to complete in 2026, the 640km-long ECRL will connect Peninsular Malaysia’s eastern coast to states near Kuala Lumpur.
The Malaysian unit of China Communications Construction is contracted to build the rail line.
Once complete, the ECRL is expected to benefit the shipping and logistical industries, as well as support industry growth in the region.
Minister Hasbi said that rerouting will have a negligible impact on the current cost of the project.