A special division should be established to smoothen and facilitate investments for the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project from China and domestic sources, says Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) chairperson Daim Zainuddin.
“When I went to China recently, I was approached by investors who said they are keen to invest here. So, I think this special division will fit the job to assist investors from China and also local investors.
“If it (the special division) is formed, when Chinese investors come here and we arrange for meetings and assist them until they get approval (for their investments), they will be able to see that things are moving fast. We will gain their trust,” he told Bernama.
Daim said the formation of this division was requested by both Chinese and local investors, adding that he had already briefed Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad on this.
As for local investors, he advised them to be ready for spillover effects, as the project workers would need services such as accommodation and food.
He said with a price tag of RM44 billion, the rail project is by far the biggest, especially for the people in the East Coast, and therefore the residents and businesses there should take the advantage of this project.
“So, if the locals are smart and take advantage of this (project), they can help improve (investment) spending and generate revenue. This is one way to boost gross domestic product growth,” he explained.
Daim also urged every state the rail link passes through, and the residents in the vicinity of the ECRL stations, to promote their localities, specialities and services available.
“They must go out and say look, we have the infrastructure and we have the people who can work (for you). And I expect after the prime minister returns from his One Belt, One Road summit in China at end of this month, more advantages will be coming to us,” Daim added.
Earlier this week, Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd and China Communications Construction Company Ltd agreed to form a 50:50 joint-venture company to manage, operate and maintain the ECRL rail network.