DUNGUN, July 25 (Bernama) – The relaunch of the East Coast Railway Link (ECRL) project will bring about positive impacts to local contractors who have been looking for opportunities to benefit from from the large-scale project.
Deputy president of the Terengganu Malay Contractors Association of Malaysia (PKMMT), Zamri Awang Hitam, said that the last mega project implemented in the state was the East Coast Highway 2 (LPT 2), which was completed several years ago.
“No other mega project was brought to the state after that. Not even small projects and this has caused many contractors to go bust,” he told Bernama on the resumption of the ECRL at the site of the Dungun Tunnel in Bukit Bauk, here today.
Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook in his speech at the event said that the percentage of local construction contractors in the relaunched project would be increased to 40 per cent from 30 per cent previously.
“We hope that with the 40 per cent quota for local contractors, they will be able to bounce back from adversity,” said Zamri who heads the association which has 1,300 members.
For construction company owner Tengku Mahri Tengku Chik, the relaunch of the ECRL project had given a new lease of life not only to contractors but also residents in the area, especially in terms of socio-economic development.
“The government has assured that 40 per cent of the project quota will be allocated for local contractors, so it is now left to us (contractors) to be more assertive in preparing our company profiles to win tenders,” he said.
Apart from contractors, the relaunch of the project is also expected to benefit small and medium enterprise (SME) operators on the east coast.
Persatuan Tunas Usahawan Nasional (Pertunas) president Amir Hakimin Che Razali, said about 113,000 SME entrepreneurs in Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang should take proactive measures and grab the opportunities that would arise from the implementation of the project.
“The ECRL’s relaunch ceremony today is a turning point in the socio-economic reforms which will definitely generate spillover of economic activities for the people in the east coast,” he told Bernama.
The relaunch of the ECRL project was indeed greeted with a sense of joy and relief by many locals.
Many of those interviewed by Bernama said they were glad to see the project being rolled out again after it was beset by uncertainties following its suspension in July last year.
In fact, the celebratory mood at the Terowong Dungun relaunch site not only reflected the federal government’s commitment to fulfilling the people’s desire but also its willingness to share the benefits of development in opposition-ruled states.
More interestingly, the launching ceremony gathered together leaders from states which would directly benefit from the project — Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar, Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Aminuddin Harun and representatives of the Pahang and Kelantan state governments.
In his speech, Loke repeatedly stressed the federal government’s commitment to bringing development and transport facilities to various parts of the country without neglecting the east coast states.
For sure, the relaunching of the project signifies the government’s determination to bring about balanced economic growth in the east coast and create more job opportunities for the locals.