Celebrating “Made in China” (Reporter’s Notes on the Belt and Road Initiative)

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Source: People’s Daily

The underground Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station of the Malaysia National Museum has a long platform where many people come and go. Professional ice hockey player, Omar unloads his backpack which is full of sports equipment and sits on the bench in the middle of the platform. He is waiting for the next train to the Mutiara Damansara Station.

Omar has just completed his two days per week training and is waiting to return to his home near Mutiara Damansara from the training ground near the National Museum. "Even when the MRT is until under construction, I had been very much looking forward to the MRT," said Omar. Before the opening of the MRT, it is a headache for him to go to the training ground. "Taking a taxi requires RM 50 (equivalent to RMB 60), and I often encounter traffic jams. The traffic situation in Kuala Lumpur is very bad."

In July 2017, the first phase of the Kuala Lumpur MRT was opened from the National Museum to Kajang which is located at the southeast of Kuala Lumpur. Omar used the MRT every time when he goes to the training ground. "From the training ground to home, taking the MRT only needs RM 5 ringgit, and the MRT is faster than taxi, this is cheap and convenient for me."

I asked Omar: "Do you know that the National Museum MRT station, and the tunnels and tracks before and after the station were built by the Chinese?” Omar smiled and said: "Of course I know, my wife works in the MRT operation department in Kuala Lumpur. She often deals with the Chinese construction team."

This China construction team is referring to China Railway Engineering Corp (M) Sdn Bhd. The Kuala Lumpur MRT project is one of the key projects of the Malaysian Government's “10th Malaysia Plan”. The project is carried out in three phases, with a total length of approximately 150 km and at the cost of approximately RM 54 billion. China Railway Engineering Corp (M) Sdn Bhd is responsible for the construction of segment A of the MRT Phase 1, which is the National Museum Station of the MRT that Omar has to pass every day, and the tunnelling work before and after the station.

Feng Qingyuan, Deputy General Manager of China Railway Engineering Corp (M) Sdn Bhd, followed through the construction process. "When building the No. 8 contact channel, we needed to construct two tunnels. There are a lot of rocks under the ground, half of them are soft and half of them are hard. The construction is very difficult, and the construction period is very tight. We promised the client 70 days to complete the work. They did not believe at first and thought that it would be great if the work can be completed in 120 days, and they even jokingly said that if we finish it successfully, they will celebrate with us with champagne.” In the end, “China Efficiency” fulfilled the promise, and the two tunnels were constructed as scheduled. The owner also fulfilled their promise and celebrated with China Railway Engineering Corp (M) Sdn Bhd with the opening of champagne.

After the completion of the first phase of the MRT project, the Malaysian operation team took over the operation of the MRT, which is the Malaysian company where Omar’s wife, Intan works. “My wife said that the National Museum station section is very advanced, and is the section where the operation team has the highest confidence.” Omar said that he often goes abroad to participate in competitions and has been to subways of many countries. He is very proud of the advanced and beautiful MRT in his hometown. "The Chinese are really capable! I would also like to open a bottle of champagne for 'China Made'!", he said.

Five minutes later, the MRT that Omar waited to send him home has arrived. The platform is bustling and crowded with passengers. Although they would not know about the “Champagne Promise” obtained by the China Railway team, and they will not know the ins and outs of this MRT line like Omar’s wife, but they share the development benefits from China and benefited from the Belt and Road Initiative.

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