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SME Bank Allocates RM1 Billion For ECRL Contractors

KUALA LUMPUR : 18 November 2019

SME Bank, as the leading Development Financial Institution (DFI) serving the SME sector and an agency under the Ministry of Entrepreneur Development, has allocated RM1 billion in financing specially for local contractors appointed for the civil works packages of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) Project. This initiative was agreed through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between SME Bank, Malaysia Rail Link Sdn. Bhd. (MRL) and China Communications Construction (ECRL) Sdn. Bhd. (CCC-ECRL) held today.

Aria Putera Ismail, Group President/Chief Executive Officer, SME Bank said, “SME Bank is proud to be one of the key players that contribute to the success of an impactful project for our nation building. This initiative is in line with the vision of the National Entrepreneurship Policy 2030 (DKN2030) which aims to make Malaysia a leading entrepreneurial nation and at the same time achieve the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 goals."

MRL Chief Executive Officer Dato’ Sri Haji Darwis Abdul Razak said the tripartite MoU to facilitate financial solutions to Malaysian subcontractors in the ECRL project would accelerate the commencement of civil works under the 40 percent local participation portion of the 640-km rail infrastructure from Kota Bharu to Port Klang.

He said that the SME Bank-MRL-CCC(ECRL) collaboration was timely as the initial award of ECRL civil works packages to Malaysian subcontractors were already ongoing in stages for tunnels and temporary works within the Dungun-Mentakab section.  “The sooner local construction companies come on stream with the civil works on the ECRL, the faster the project would contribute to the growth of Malaysia’s construction and building materials sectors as well as railway industry,” added Darwis.

The collaboration also serves as an endorsement to the ECRL project under the improved deal between Malaysia and China which among others increased local participation for civil works from 30 percent to 40 percent.

As ECRL civil works packages continue to be awarded over the next one to two years, the collaboration would encourage local construction companies to play an active role in the project and ensure it is on track for completion by December 2026.

China Communications Construction (ECRL) Sdn Bhd Managing Director Bai Yinzhan echoed, "The ECRL project is an important economic and trade cooperation between Malaysia and China. We are going to award at least 40% of the civil works to local contractors.”

“As we are getting ready for full-scale civil works on multiple sites along the 223-km Dungun to Mentakab stretch, this is indeed a timely announcement for our appointed and future sub-contractors. Such a comprehensive financial package could provide them the peace of mind to focus on the foundation work for the railway that would contribute towards bridging the development gap between the east and west coasts of Peninsular Malaysia and was designed to improve the nation's economic growth and those along the alignment.” Bai added.

The signing of the MoU was witnessed by YB Tuan Lim Guan Eng, Minister of Finance, YB Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Yusof, Minister of Entrepreneur Development, His Excellency Bai Tian, Ambassador of The People’s Republic of China, YB Datuk Wira Dr. Mohd Hatta Md Ramli Deputy Minister of Entrepreneur Development, Datuk Wan Suraya Wan Mohd Radzi, Secretary General, Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and Chairman of SME Bank, Datuk Seri Nazir Ariff. Signing the MoU on behalf of SME Bank is Aria Putera Ismail, Group President/Chief Executive Officer, while Dato’ Sri Haji Darwis Abdul Razak, Chief Executive Officer represented MRL and Ir. Fang Zhenru, the Project Director represented CCC-ECRL.