PUTRAJAYA - The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) mega project is a 'game changer' and 'mindset changer' for the people on the East Coast with the arrival of the modern era in their area, said Prime Ministeri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
"I was involved in a programme in Bachok, Kelantan several months ago. The residents could not imagine such a modern and sophisticated rail service in their midst when they saw how the train looked like.
"When I saw their reaction, I realised that the project is not only a 'game changer' but also also a 'mindset changer'. It opens the minds of the rural populace in the East Coast that the modern era has arrived in their region," he said.
Najib, who is also Finance Minister, said this when opening the 'Negaraku' ECRL Industry Training Project at the Finance Ministry here today.
He said the economic growth rates in Terengganu, Kelantan and Pahang were each expected to increase by 1.5 per cent through the implementation of the ECRL.
According to Najib, based on government studies, 95 per cent of respondents supported the project which simultaneously showed it received the support and prompting of the people.
On the training programme, the prime minister said it was the result of the effort of the government to bring equal development to the East Coast region.
He said 3,600 local-born participants would be undergoing the training programme which focused on fulfilling the job needs in the ECRL sector.
"Hopefully, the training programme will give a clear signal that the project brings a huge benefit to Malaysians other than further firming our bilateral ties with China," he said.
During the ceremony, Najib witnessed 12 memoranda of understanding (MoUs) signed and the exchange of documents.
The MoUs between Malaysia Rail Link (MRL) with China Communications Construction Company Limited (CCCC) and public higher institutions of learning was to realise industry and academia collaboration for ECRL Industrial Skills Training.
It is aimed at providing and boosting the skills of local graduates for recruitment by ECRL contractors and the railway industry.