KUALA LUMPUR, May 18 – The Council of Eminent Persons chairman Tun Daim Zainuddin stated that the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) costs more than RM66 billion, following discussions with the ECRL team.
Daim said the council found that the RM55 billion investment value only covered Phase 1 of the project, with Phase 2 costing an additional RM11 billion.
“The ECRL is not worth RM55 billion. That is only for the first phase. For the second phase, there is another RM11 billion.
“Add the interest rates, it could probably be much, much, more than that. These are the figures that I got from the team but let the government announce it,” he said during a press conference at Wisma Ilham, here today.
When asked on whether the cost of the ECRL was reasonable, Daim simply quipped that when he was in Kelantan, the people there preferred getting the money.
Giving away only minimal details on numerous issues, Daim said since the formation of the council last Saturday, it has conducted 40 meetings, called up to 50 people including government officers, personnel from government-linked companies, bankers and regulators.
“We have 100 days to complete these tasks and we have so far discussed several issues including housing, Federal Land Development Authority (Felda), Federal Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Felcra), Felda Global Ventures Holdings Berhad (FGV), Goods and Services Tax (GST) and 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
“We have also touched upon institutional reform, while next week we will discuss on fuel subsidy, the GST to Sales and Services Tax (SST conversion), toll and Petronas among others,” he said.
Touching on the SST, Daim said that Malaysians could benefit from a possible tax break as the reintroduction will take between two to three months time.
While the GST will be done away at zero-percent rate by June 1, the SST will require legislation to be passed in Parliament.
Daim said the government expected to collect about RM30 billion annually from the SST.