The government says that it will strive to improve land connectivity in the east coast states to offset the loss of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), which has been shelved, The Star reports.

Transport minister Anthony Loke said these states would not be neglected despite the government’s decision to axe the ECRL, which was announced by prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad earlier this week during his visit to China. Mahathir said that the project had to be cancelled because of the country’s need to manage its finances.

“The decision to scrap the ECRL was made by the cabinet due to cost factor. But I would like to give an assurance to those in the east coast that we will never neglect you,” Loke said. He said that the government will continue to rehabilitate the existing Gemas-Tumpat single track railway line and improve the road network in the east coast.

Rail concessionaire KTM was forced to temporarily close the Gemas-Tumpat line after sections of the track, the signalling systems, stations and also the Kemubu Bridge were destroyed or badly damaged as a result of severe flooding in late 2014. The stretch was reopened in June 2016 following repairs, but the number of services have been limited.