01 September 2017
The ground-breaking on 9 August 2017 of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) was a low-key affair despite its significance. Connecting Port Klang on the Strait of Malacca to Kuantan and Kota Baru on the South China Sea coast, the site of the event was lined with China’s flags and the occasion graced by its State Councillor Wang Yang. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said in his speech that the ECRL, to be completed by 2024, would be a game-changer for the country.
It is also a critical component of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), originally known as the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) launched by China last May. The 688 kilometre railway will cut travel time between the two end points by two-thirds, to four hours. The Malaysian minister of transport suggested that Malaysia could be China’s gateway to ASEAN.
… Johan Saravanamuttu is Adjunct Senior Fellow with the Malaysia Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 04/09/2017