MANY have voiced concern over the RM60 billion ECRL project but I think there is merit to consider continuing with the project.
It will create jobs for Malaysians and generate economic growth in the east coast. I use public transport to travel and I think the ECRL will be of great benefit simply because it will make it easier to travel to Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang.
I believe with a good schedule and competitive fares, the ECRL will be a popular way to travel. In terms of passenger volume, I believe the ECRL will be able to meet its target.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had said in the past that it's better to fly to Kota Baru, Kuala Terengganu and Kuantan with AirAsia. However, even with the many budget airlines, there are times when it is impossible to buy a ticket. In addition, budget airline fares fluctuate, and cheap flight tickets are limited. While flying from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Baru, Kuala Terengganu or Kuantan takes about an hour, the total time taken to travel to the airport, check-in and wait before boarding and to disembark from the plane is almost the same as travelling on the ECRL.
Arguments abound that now is not the right time to implement mega projects. However, there will never be a right time for infrastructure projects that cost billions. But it is the responsibility of the government to provide reliable, affordable and efficient public transport for the people, not just for Klang Valley residents.
I urge the government to review the ECRL project and find ways to cut its cost to its originally estimated RM30 billion. There is no denying that the cost needs scrutiny and deliberation but there's also no denying that the country needs world class infrastructure to achieve Vision 2020 goals.