The 600 km long East Coast Rail Line project which is set to connect the Klang Valley to the east coast will serve as a game changer in boosting the country’s economy, while also acting as a ‘mindset changer’ for those living in rural areas in the east coast states, prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.

“When I saw their expression after seeing the modern train, I knew that the project will not only become a game changer but also a mindset changer. The project will open up the mind of those in the rural areas there that the modern era has arrived for the east coast,” he said of the RM55 billion East Coast Rail Line project.

Based on studies, the three east coast states of Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan stand to experience an additional growth of 1.5% once the ECRL is completed, Najib added. “With this, the east coast will become a more attractive and competitive regional development area,” he said.

The RM55 billion rail project is meant to bridge the economic divide between the east coast and the west coast, according to the prime minister, who is also finance minister. “If we want to attract investments, one of its prerequisites is connectivity. ECRL will connect the east coast to other areas such as Port Klang,” Najib said.

As laid out in the Budget 2017 speech, RM100 million will be earmarked for repairs to the Gua Musang-Tumpat sector of the rail line, while a total of 19 train sets are to be acquired in stages, at a total cost of RM1.1 billion by 2019.