China's Belt and Road Initiative will continue to play a big role in catalyzing mega projects in 2018 for Malaysia, said a Malaysian research house on Thursday.
CIMB Research said in a report that with the funding support of the initiative as an enabler, Malaysia, for the first time, has targeted to roll out four major rail projects simultaneously in 2018, which are estimated to cost a combined 164 billion ringgit (40.27 billion U.S. dollars) with a total new rail buildup of 1,209 km.
These projects include the 50 billion to 60 billion ringgit Kuala Lumpur to Singapore high speed rail (HSR), 55 billion ringgit East Coast Rail Line (ECRL), 40 billion ringgit Mass Rapid Transit 3 (Circle Line), and the 8.9 billion ringgit Gemas to Johor Baru electrified rail double tracking.
"As at the end of 2017, these jobs have made significant progress in terms of government approvals, launch of the railway schemes, earlier stages of land acquisition, project design and tender process, which requires at least six months for evaluation and award," the research house said.
CIMB also expected the contract awards for these projects to flow through in 2018 as project structures and funding methods for major rail projects are largely in place.
Citing ECRL, one of the key projects under the Belt and Road Initiative as an example, CIMB said the rail's contract awards should commence in the first half next year, with project completion by 2024.
"About 30 to 40 percent of total project value is targeted to be awarded to local contractors," it added.