Workers Laid Off

Almost Half of 2,000 ECRL Staff Laid Off, Mostly Malaysians, Says Report

KUALA LUMPUR As the fate of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) mega project hangs in the balance, reports are now coming in that there have been significant retrenchments of local workers.

According to Channel News Asia in Tweeter video report by Malaysia bureau chief Melissa Goh, nearly half of the about 2,000 staff working at the mega rail project had been laid off, quoting a manager who did not want to be named.

The manager told the Singapore-based broadcaster “that she had no choice and most of them are locals”.

The main contractor of the rail project is China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC).

Goh reported that “half of the workforce has been retrenched, hurting mostly Malaysians. There are all together eight base camps, this is in Bentong, Pahang”.

She also reported that some of the expatriates such as engineers, the admin staff, and chefs have gone home on long leave, but some local employees are still staying at their posts.

Channel News Asia reported that just 30% of the entire work force are foreigners.

On Thursday, it was reported that the ministry of finance (MoF) has cautioned the main contractor of the suspended mega project against the rapid lay-offs of its employees.

In a letter dated July 17, Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) said it is observing the contractor’s “drastic action especially on the demobilisation of your staff”.

“Please note that MRL requires you to officially notify us of personnel whom had been registered as person-in-charge to all local authorities, ie CIDB, JKKP etc.”

“It is required for you to maintain those staff during the suspension period to avoid any unforeseen actions by the authorities, like closing of your site offices, or imposing penalties, etc,” said MRL in the letter.