Several workers felt they were ‘left in the dark’ over the issue
Workers involved in a massive railway project in Malaysia are in shock after Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad announced its deferment.
Staff said they were unaware of the “actual status” of the project and are still waiting for an announcement from the top management. Several workers felt they were “left in the dark” over the matter.
The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project consisted mainly of local Malaysian workers and only about 18% to 20% were workers from China.
However, a security guard at one of the project sites said the workers’ quarters had been deserted a month ago. Additionally, Channel NewsAsia reported that half of the workforce were retrenched in July.
A source from the project owner Malaysian Rail Link (MRL) confirmed the retrenchments and said that layoffs at one of the main companies when the project was suspended.
“Half of them [at The China Communications and Constructions Company (CCCC)] are already retrenched and the Chinese workers were told to leave,” the source said.
Tun Mahathir’s announcement came as a shock as it was understood that the authorities were discussing options to scale down construction costs instead of a complete halt of operations.
The PM said that the project “will be deferred until such time we can afford, and maybe we can reduce the cost also if we do it differently”.