Opposition leaders and NGOs are being shortsighted in opposing the ECRL, says Toh Chin Yaw

KUALA LUMPUR: Terengganu MCA has hit out at groups that have been putting the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project in a bad light, saying they lack the foresight to see its benefits.

“It is shortsighted and senseless for certain individuals from the Opposition and non-governmental organisations to label the ECRL project as selling off the country’s sovereignty,” said Terengganu MCA chief Toh Chin Yaw in a statement today.

“Inarguably, improved transportation infrastucture can only benefit the people. The groundless accusations of ‘selling off the country’s sovereignty’ are simply baseless and reflect the bad intention to mislead the people,” he added.

Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad has likened the project to pawning the nation’s sovereignty whereas right wing Malay group Perkasa criticised its ground-breaking ceremony for allegedly being too Chinese.

Toh also justified the involvement of China-based companies in the construction of the ECRL project.

“In the present globalised world, it is common for international companies to form consortiums and joint-venture companies to undertake mega infrastructure construction works,” he said.

Toh gave his word that MCA would play its role in ensuring that the people would reap the benefit of the rail project, which was launched on Wednesday.

“Terengganu MCA will prepare and formulate strategies to assist and support the people of Terengganu to participate in and reap the benefits that come with the ECRL development,” he added.

He said it is important for the locals of all races to be ready to grab the opportunities generated by the massive project.

The 688km China-financed ECRL will shorten the road journey from Port Klang to Kelantan by four hours. It is expected to be completed by 2024.

China’s state-owned China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) has been appointed for the construction of the RM55 billion project.

Yesterday MCA president Liow Tiong Lai also warned groups against politicising the ECRL project as it may jeopardise Malaysia-China bilateral ties.

“We have good bilateral ties with China. Don’t harm those ties,” he said.

“To those who want to make it a racial or language issue, we should tell them that it (the ECRL project) is for the greater good of the nation.

“Don’t politicise them. They want to create controversy. There is a lot of support for the project,” he added.