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Meet AECOM engineer Monitha Anthony working in Malaysia

Meet AECOM engineer Monitha Anthony working in Malaysia

 March 06, 2023

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Monitha Anthony is an engineer and associate director in AECOM's Transportation business line in Asia.

In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, Monitha shares how AECOM employees #EmbraceEquity not only in the workplace, but in their work. Get an inside look at how our teams are embracing equity through their projects and positively impacting the lives of women as well as underserved communities around the world.

An imbalance in economic activities

The east coast covers an approximately 50 percent of the land area of Peninsular Malaysia and is home to more than 5 million people. Monitha explains how the region has been slower in terms of economic and infrastructure development compared to the western part of the peninsula. Hence, there is an imbalance in economic activities between the west and the east coasts.

"For instance, the eastern states contributed a combined total of approximately 8.0 percent to Malaysian economic growth in year 2021 In contrast, Kuala Lumpur in the west coast contributed to approximately 15 percent by itself. One of the key factors for the economic imbalance between the west and the east coasts is the geographical challenges with extensive Titiwangsa mountain range running through the middle of the peninsula, preventing connectivity between the developed states in the west and the underdeveloped states in the east. Therefore, the economic vibrance of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor have historically been disconnected from the economically lagging areas of Kelantan, Pahang and Terengganu," says Monitha.

Game-changing transport infrastructure

AECOM is working with China Communications Construction Company (the Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Commissioning contractor for the ECRL project) in the delivery of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project, what Monitha describes as a "game-changing transport infrastructure which will open up new opportunities for the people in the east coast states by facilitating the creation of new jobs, stimulating industries and enhancing mobility, in tandem with the growth that is being driven by the East Coast Economic Region."

"We are providing site supervision services for four of the nine sections of the project, which means we are covering approximately half of the entire 413.2 miles (665 kilometers). The works include providing supervising consultancy services for the civil and infrastructure elements including rail transit stations, viaducts, tunnels and depots. The services include the overall administration, checking and verification of technical compliance of construction works and assisting in technical matters on site," comments Monitha. 

Many benefits of the project

Monitha shares the many benefits driven by the ECRL project, such as creating a positive social impact for the underserved communities living near the rail line, namely the three east coast states of Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang, as well as Negeri Sembilan, Selangor, and the Federal Territory of Putrajaya.

"The project will provide efficient connectivity between the two regions by reducing the time and cost of travel significantly. ECRL will spur development in the east coast states and across the Titiwangsa mountain range, creating industrial hubs that will offer jobs to locals, promote business and trade as well as increase tourism. The participation of local contractors in the ECRL construction project would also stimulate growth in the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), particularly those involved with the supply of building materials. Local contractors involved in ECRL employ many skilled and semi-skilled local workers, creating income and career opportunities especially for the younger generation," continues Monitha.

"During the construction of the ECRL, the presence of thousands of workers at the construction site will generate the local economy that benefits food traders, homestay operators, rental car entrepreneurs and other small entrepreneurs. The cost of goods can also be lowered because the cost of freight transport by rail is cheaper compared to land transport. This new network trims the cost of traveling and gives rural east coast populations flexibility to move beyond their hometowns towards better economic opportunities nearer to the western centers," adds Monitha.

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