East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) chief executive officer Datuk Seri Jebasingam Issace John said there was never an issue of selling off Malaysia's sovereignty via investments from China as claimed on social media. File pic by SALHANI IBRAHIM

KUANTAN: Certain quarters' action of politicising the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) and other projects involving China could curtail the opportunity to boost the income and socio-economic wellbeing of Malaysians.

East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) chief executive officer Datuk Seri Jebasingam Issace John said there was never an issue of selling off Malaysia's sovereignty via investments from China as claimed on social media.

He said the matter should instead be viewed positively in the creation of new job openings for local residents here via China's investment in company Alliance Steel(M) Sdn Bhd, at the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP) here, which involve RM5.6 billion.

"As can be seen at the Alliance Steel Job Carnival today, around 4,000 job openings in various fields were opened to local residents of the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) and this is a positive thing.

"This is clearly different than what is portrayed in debates on social media where there were criticism against investment and projects from China, as the people definitely benefited from getting jobs as well as entrepreneurship," he said.

He was speaking at a press conference after the opening ceremony of the Alliance Steel Job Carnival here today.

State Health, Human Resources and Special Tasks Committee chairman Datuk Norol Azali Sulaiman opened the carnival, in the presence of Alliance Steel project deputy chief Hu Jiu Lin.

Jebasingam was responding to allegations of the pro-China element of the ECRL project that was launched at the Kota SAS Central Station here on Wednesday.

On that day, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak opened the groundbreaking ceremony of the historic RM55 billion public transportation project that seeks to boost economic development of the east coast states of Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan.

The ambitious project, involving the construction of a 688km rail network, is spearheaded by its contractor China Communications Construction Company Ltd(CCCC) with the cooperation of Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL).

Meanwhile, Norol Azali said that investment from China would not only lead to Malaysia's economic growth but also indirectly expose its educational institutions to new knowledge.

"I believe they(educational institutions) can acquire new knowledge and expertise such as through Alliance Steel, which can help the country(Malaysia) develop a highly-skilled workforce and human capital," he said.

181 reads