See More on Facebook

Economics, Opinion, Politics

Reconsidering Malaysia’s rail projects

Soon after Pakatan Harapan took over the federal administration, PM Mahathir not only set up the Council of Elders, stepped up investigation of the 1MDB scandal, dismissed politically appointed civil servants and gradually put the PH election manifesto into implementation, another focus was the reviewing of two major infrastructural projects undertaken by the previous BN administration, namely ECRL and KL-Singapore HSR.


Written by

Updated: May 29, 2018

As the two rail projects have been initiated, the new government may have to come up with astronomical sums of compensations if it were to terminate or suspend the projects. To a government already having RM1 trillion debt on its shoulders, this could mean another immense financial burden.

As a matter of fact, these two rail projects are not really white elephants as many would want to believe. Improved infrastructural facilities are utterly essential to catalyze the country’s economic development.

In addition to Port Klang on the Straits of Melaka, the east coast port of Kuantan with a direct rail link to Singapore should constitute a highly strategic “New Golden Triangle”.

Most of the sea traffic for major economic powers such as China, along with other regional trading nations like Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines will have to pass the Straits of Melaka to reach the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea. Singapore will remain the principal logistic hub while Port Klang is noticeably inferior where geographical location is concerned.

With a direct rail link between Port Klang and Kuantan Port, cargo traffic between South China Sea and Indian Ocean / Arabian Sea, can experience remarkable cost and time savings if goods are transported via the land bridge, not to mention countless job opportunities created along the rail line and meeting the significantly boosted cargo load over the next ten years as the economy along the rail line takes off in a big way.

The ECRL construction is therefore not just a key unilateral trade consideration for China being the financing party, but it will also have positive implications on Malaysia’s economic development.

As for the KL-Singapore HSR project, it not only connects the southern tip of the New Golden Triangle to Kuantan to the east and Port Klang to the west and bring the two major maritime routes on either side of Peninsular Malaysia to easy reach, it may even become an impetus for fresh economic dynamism and business opportunities.

Unfortunately these projects entail an excessively high construction cost and indeed warrant prudent consideration given the massive debt commitments the Malaysian government has to bear at this moment.

In his appraisal of the two projects, the prime minister has raised some doubts over the projects’ feasibility and has even hinted possible cancellation of the projects.

It is hoped that the new government will consider the pros of these projects before making any decision, trying instead to review and reduce the cost.

Given our cordial relationships with both China and Singapore, renegotiating more acceptable deals is absolutely practicable while charting win-win strategies for the countries where private sector is involved.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Sin Chew Daily
About the Author: Sin Chew Daily is a leading Chinese newspaper in Malaysia and a member of the Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Economics, Opinion, Politics

President Xi emphasizes role of Hong Kong, Macau

Both Hong Kong and Macao were told to integrate with nation’s overall development. President Xi Jinping underlined on Monday the unique and irreplaceable role of the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions for China’s reform and opening-up in the new era. He also called on the two regions to better integrate themselves with the nation’s overall development. Xi’s remarks came as he met with a delegation of about 210 representatives from the two SARs who were in Beijing to celebrate the 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up. The position and role of Hong Kong and Macao will only be strengthened rather than weakened, Xi said. The two regions should continue to play a leading role and enable more capital, technology and talent to take part in the country’s high-quality development and in the new round of high-level opening-up, he said. People of the two regions should continu


By China Daily
November 13, 2018

Economics, Opinion, Politics

Suu Kyi stripped of Amnesty honour

The Amnesty International has stripped Aung San Suu Kyi of its highest honour, the latest of several honours taken away from her since last year’s brutal military crackdown on the Rohingyas. This is the eighth honour that the former Nobel peace prizewinner has been stripped of over the past year, with Amnesty following the example of Canada, US Holocaust Museum, UK’s Edinburgh, Oxford, Glasgow and Newcastle and Canada’s Carleton Universities which also revoked Suu Kyi’s honorary degrees and awards. The long-celebrated Nobel Laureate was given Amnesty’s most prestigious honour, the Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2009 marking the 20th anniversary of her arrest and 20 years since it declared her a prisoner of conscience. The AI yesterday announced withdrawal of its highest honour fr


By Daily Star
November 13, 2018

Economics, Opinion, Politics

Date set for Bangladesh elections

Bangladesh will hold a parliamentary election on December 23 despite the failure of political parties to resolve major contentious issues over the polls. The country’s chief election commissioner KM Nurul Huda said there was a “congenial atmosphere” to hold the polls and promised it will be free and fair. “We hope we will be able to hold a free, fair and acceptable election,” Huda said in a televised address. A day before, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina wrapped up week-long talks between the ruling Awami League-led 14-party combine and at least 80 parties under the banners of different alliances. During the dialogue, Jatiya Oikyafront, an alliance of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and several other opposition parties, demanded for a dissolution of parliament before the polls and the creation of a caretaker government. The ruling party, however, rejected it over const


By Asia News Network
November 9, 2018

Economics, Opinion, Politics

Thailand’s KBank to launch e-wallet, invests $50 million US in Grab Taxi

Grab on Thursday announced a partnership with Thailand’s Kasikornbank to launch mobile payment application GrabPay by KBank. The mobile wallet, which is slated to be launched as soon as early 2019, will allow Grab customers to pay for transport and delivery services, transfer funds, purchase products and services online, and make QR-code payments in restaurants and shops across Thailand. Through Thailand’s national e-payments scheme called PromptPay, all three million QR-enabled merchants in the country will be able to accept GrabPay by KBank.


By The Straits Times
November 9, 2018

Economics, Opinion, Politics

China Trade War Update

China has kicked off the country’s first ever international import expo in Shanghai, an event designed to boost China’s image as a market to the world. President Xi Jinping, in his opening remarks, said that the Shanghai expo isn’t simply an trade fair, rather it should be viewed as a “major policy for China to push for a new round of high-level opening-up and a major measure for China to take the initiative to open its market to the world.” The Import Expo was not initially designed as an answer to the trade war with the United States—the expo was first announced more than a year ago in May of 2017, long before the first shots of the trade war were fired—but in a way that’s what it has become. President Xi


By Quinn Libson
November 8, 2018

Economics, Opinion, Politics

Woman accused of blasphemy freed in Pakistan

Asia Bibi was initially found guilty of blasphemy and sentenced to death. After her release from Multan’s women prison in the light of the Oct 31 Supreme Court verdict overturning her conviction and death sentence, Asia Bibi was brought to Islamabad on board a special aircraft on Wednesday night, reliable sources told Dawn Newspaper. The aircraft carrying Aasia Bibi, whose acquittal of blasphemy charge sparked countrywide protests by religious parties and groups, landed at the old Benazir Bhutto International Airport of Islamabad adjacent to Nur Khan Air Base. Soon after her landing, she was taken to an undisclosed place in Islamabad amid tight security. The authorities were keeping her movement and whereabouts secret for security reasons. Authorities concerned were also tight-lipped about her future plan and it was unclear if she would be kept in Islamabad or would be allowed to fly out of the


By Dawn
November 8, 2018