The government is set to a build a 600km rail link connecting Kuala Lumpur to Kelantan as a long-term plan to restore developments in the East Coast.

The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) will link the city with Bentong, Pahang and run through Terengganu all the way to Tumpat, Kelantan, that sits on the border of Thailand.

“This will spur a new wave of development to realise the socio-economic potential for the East Coast,” Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said at the launch of the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) symposium today.

The ECRL is considered a high-impact project, which would form the backbone in multimodal transport infrastructure for the East Coast Economic Region (ECER), he added.

The ECER covers 51% of Peninsular Malaysia with a total population of over 4.5 million, namely Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang, as well as Mersing, Johor.

In May, SPAD CEO Mohd Azharuddin Mat Sah said the new railway is critical to bring the states in the East Coast up to par with the states in the western peninsular.

The completion date for the ECRL has yet to be decided, but Azharuddin calculated that the development could take up to eight years.