BY Chris Prasad
With much attention focused on the upcoming High Speed Rail (HSR) project these days, it is easy to forget that there are also other major rail projects being developed in the country.
However, this week Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai put the spotlight on East Coast Rail Line (ECRL) by announcing that a key station for the line would be built in Bentong in Pahang.
He said the ECRL, together with the proposed the Central Spine Road (CSR) were two major projects which could transform Bentong into an important satellite township on the eastern border of Greater Klang Valley.
“These projects will not only benefit the east coast but also see the rise of Bentong as an important township with an organised and planned development. People can live here and work in Kuala Lumpur, with Gombak only a 25-minute ride away once the ECRL is completed,” he said.
Liow said the proposed rail link was a long-held ambition that had actually been planned during the British colonial era, and then once again during the tenure of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. However, it never came to fruition.
“But now we have the technology and the political will to carry out this project. The Government is committed to develop the east coast,” he said.
Liow said the ECRL station had been proposed to be located near the town’s industrial park.
“Bentong is currently seeing double digit economic growth and putting the town at the centre of a junction will ensure more dynamic development,” he said, adding that the project is earmarked to start by the middle of this year.