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Constructions of Malaysia's railway megaproject ECRL back to full swing

2020-08-14 17:47

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KUALA LUMPUR, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- "It's good to be back in the construction site," said Hakimi Razak as he stood at a bridge construction site of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), a major infrastructure project in Malaysia.

Hakimi, 35, works as a QAQC manager for China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), the main contractor of ECRL.

Despite the tropical heat and the fact that he could not return to his family everyday from the site at Malaysia's central state of Pahang, Hakimi preferred working at the site than working from home.

He had been working from home on documentation work earlier, when Malaysia was under strict restrictive measures to contain the spread the COVID-19, during which the ECRL project also came to a halt.

"For me, in construction, it's better to be at the workplace, because it is easier for us to work when we are at the construction site," He told Xinhua recently.

The joy of returning to work was also shared by Goh Sem Yen, a health, safety and environment (HSE) assistant at a section office in Terengganu state.

"I feel I am home and has returned to a big family," she said.

When she and her local colleagues had to work from home due to the virus outbreak, they constantly received cares from their Chinese colleagues and got paid as normal, said Goh.

"At that time, we hoped that we could come back to work as early as possible," she told Xinhua, "I enjoy working here. Despite being busy every day, I can always learn new thing, while make my contributions to the project."

The smooth resumption of construction of the 640-km ECRL is made possible by the strict precautions measures against COVID-19 taken by CCCC even from the early day of the outbreak.

According to Dong Yan, a CCCC section manager of ECRL, the strict measures includes compartmentalization of office space, with regular sanitization, social distancing, and health tracking and COVID-19 testing of the staff.

The management has taken precautions measures while keeping their staff informed on the latest development of COVID-19 around the world, even before the outbreak in Malaysia, said Dong.

"All of our staff could follow the measures in place against COVID-19," he said. "I think that's part of the reason why our staff could back to work as soon as the project resumed."

The measures also brought sense of safety to Hakimi and his colleagues. "Everybody feels safe with these precautions," He said.

Bai Yinzhan, managing director of China Communications Construction (ECRL), said so far no COVID-19 cases were reported among CCCC's staff on ECRL.

"We have attached equal importance to the resumption of work and the precautious measures against the outbreak," he said, adding the local staff and local participation will play an even greater role in the further construction of ECRL, with the aim to bring benefit to the local communities.

"We will continue with our principle of localization by bringing in more local contractors, suppliers and staff to the project," he said.

ECRL runs from Malaysia's largest transport hub Port Klang and travels across the peninsula to Kelantan state in northeastern Malaysia, which is expected to greatly enhance connectivity and bring more balanced growth to the country by linking its less-developed region on the East Coast to the economic heartland on the West Coast upon its completion in 2026.

According to Bai, works have been started on more than 80 sites along the route, including on tunnel, bridge, and embankment.

Hakimi said working for ECRL is one of his dreams coming true. "I would like to finish what I started off, so I'm looking forward to finish this project with CCCC, even though it might take about another six or seven years," he said.
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