Are you nuts, Najib asks PKR man over claims on pricey ECRL fares

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PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Najib Razak has called Terengganu PKR chief Azan Ismail “nuts” for claiming that fares on the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) would be exorbitant.

This comes after Azan noted that there were concerns that tickets could be expensive because of the high construction cost, which was expected to climb further due to the weakening ringgit.

In a Facebook post today, Najib said it was ridiculous for Azan to claim that ECRL fares would be six times higher than air fares.

“Who did the math? What formula was used?” he asked, adding that those on the east coast would be furious if ticket costs were that high.

He pointed out that although the cost of the ECRL project was high, ticket prices would be reasonable because the source of income for the project was not only from fare collection.

“The largest portion comes from the transport of goods … two-way freight from Kuantan port to Port Klang. With this, ships don’t need to pass through Singapore,” he said.

Najib noted that when Pakatan Harapan (PH) was in power, it managed to reduce the project cost from RM55 billion to RM44 billion by shortening the route.

“When the Perikatan Nasional government came to power, it went up to RM50 billion, but the route was still shorter compared to Barisan Nasional’s original plan,” he said.

Because of PH’s interference, he said, the project had been postponed and would only be ready in 2026.

“Now the public has to endure traffic congestion for another two years. The economic development of the country and east coast has also been delayed,” he said.

The 665km rail network, which includes 59 tunnels, will traverse four states – Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and Selangor.

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