Commitment of Chinese, Malaysian youth shines in BRI East Coast Rail Link mega project-Xinhua

This aerial photo taken on April 26, 2023 shows the construction site of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project in Kelantan, Malaysia. (Xinhua/Zhu Wei)

Young professionals from China and Malaysia strive for excellence while working on the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) Belt and Road project.

KUALA LUMPUR, May 6 — Under scorching heat in Malaysia, construction work on the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), a major infrastructure project under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), is in full swing.

Ten youth rapid response teams from both China and Malaysia are actively working on the construction of the route, which will stretch over 600 kilometers.

In July 2017, ECRL’s first Youth Rapid Response Team was established. Zhang Tan, 33, is now the team leader. Before coming to Malaysia, he participated in the construction of the BRI project in Africa.

Zhang Tan (C), head of the First Youth Rapid Response Team of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), inspects a construction site in Kelantan, Malaysia, on April 26, 2023. (Xinhua/Zhu Wei)

Zhang conducted research at the beam yard with his colleague Deng Yuji, a technical director. All procedures in the yard are in order with over a hundred precast T-shaped beams stored in a well-aligned manner, waiting to be set into piers.

Zhang explained to Xinhua that the beam yard plays an important role in railway construction. He said that only by providing the necessary, high-quality beams in an efficient manner, the track laying and construction work can be completed on schedule and the ECRL project can be completed smoothly.

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„All of our team members work on the main platforms of the line and play very important roles,” Zhang said, adding that despite some difficulties, they are dedicated to their work and can make four beams every day.

Workers work at the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) beam yard in Kelantan, Malaysia on April 26, 2023. (Xinhua/Zhu Wei)

Built by the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), the ECRL is expected to greatly improve connectivity and bring about more balanced development for Malaysia by connecting the less developed part of Malaysia on the east coast with the economic hub on the west coast. Completion

According to Ye Xiaoyang, deputy project director of CCCC (ECRL) SDN BHD, 2023 is a key year for civil engineering of the ECRL project, and the number of employees is expected to exceed 20,000.

The program has 10 Youth Rapid Response Teams comprising 223 people, of which 185 are aged 35 years and below. All of them work at critical locations like tunnels, embankments, bridges and roadbeds and have contributed greatly to the construction of ECRL.

An employee works at the construction site of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) in Kelantan, Malaysia on April 26, 2023. (Xinhua/Zhu Wei)

Deng, who hails from southwest China’s Sichuan province, only started working here a few months ago. Being a newcomer, he spends most of his time in the production yard, exploring all the procedures and trying his best to contribute as a technical director.

In a T-shirt stained with sweat and marl, he proudly said that his technical suggestions to improve work efficiency were adopted and as a member of the Youth Rapid Response Team, he perpetuates the spirit of artisans of all kinds. Obstacles and strive for excellence.

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East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) first youth rapid response team leader Zhang Tan (R) discusses production problems with technical director Deng Yu (C) and Malaysian engineer Deng Di Wei (L) at East Coast’s beam yard. Rail Link (ECRL) project in Kelantan, Malaysia on April 26, 2023. (Xinhua/Zhu Wei)

Youth Rapid Response Teams attract not only Chinese workers but also their Malaysian counterparts.

Deng Te Wei, a young Malaysian engineer, joined ECRL after graduating from the University of Malaya.

„I was on site when we drove the first pile. I’ve experienced a lot in the last two years. In addition to personal growth, it’s also about seeing the project move forward steadily. I feel we’re getting closer to the goal,” he said.

This aerial photo taken on April 26, 2023 shows the beam yard of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project in Kelantan, Malaysia. (Xinhua/Zhu Wei)

Over the past two years, with the help of her Chinese colleagues, she has adapted to this work environment and has been actively participating in the project.

Deng said ECRL has brought more job opportunities to local people and met many old students from his middle school at the project.

Yeh said construction work on the project has been accelerated and is expected to be completed by the end of 2027.

For Deng, he believes that once the project is completed, it will bring more convenient transportation and more opportunities.

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