Take care of the affected workers and the environment after canceling ECRL, says Bentong representative

KUANTAN: The government is urged to look after the well-being of local employees after the (reported) cancellation of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project, said Young Syefura Othman (Pic).

The DAP assembler for Ketari (a state seat in Bentong) said that although the decision was not surprising, as Pakatan Harapan had promised to review foreign linked megaprojects, the government should still consider the direct impact on some 2,000 employees.

"Although it can not be denied that the ECRL project would have benefited Bentong's economic growth, the cancellation is still supported on the basis of the exorbitant costs and the current financial burden on the government.

"However, it is regrettable that more than 1,000 of the workers are Malaysians and residents of Bentong.

"The government should pay special attention to the well-being of the affected local workers, including giving them appropriate compensation and helping them find new jobs," Young Syefura said in a statement on Friday (Aug. 24).

She also called on the government to take mitigating measures on the construction sites that remain behind.

"The ECRL structures in the Genting and Bentong areas would have reached 13 to 14%, forests have been cut, land that has been flattened and hills that have been excavated to build railways and tunnels.

"If these sites are abandoned after the cancellation, this will have disastrous consequences for the environment, causing disasters in the future," she said.

Young Syefura added that the government should ensure that the contractors and the relevant parties carry out rehabilitation at the locations as quickly as possible.

She said that the construction sites are in environmentally critical areas in Bentong and were worried about possible disasters during the east coast monsoon.

"The government must ensure that, after stopping such a big project as the ECRL, important steps have to be taken, especially in the economic, social and environmental fields," she said.

On Tuesday (August 21), Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was announced to announce the cancellation of the ECRL and two gas pipeline projects in Sabah due to the financial situation of the country.

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