PETALING JAYA: The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project is still in a “limbo” when the Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said that currently there is no decision made as negotiations are still ongoing.
Dr. Mahathir said, even though some decisions have been made but negotiations still continue to find better solutions.
“We (Malaysia and China) feel that both sides should be given enough time to come up with a solution to the problem as there may be other options.
“We are studying the costs of the ECRL project as the former government has given a very high estimate,” he said to the media after chairing a Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) Supreme Council Meeting here on Tuesday (Jan.29).
Regarding the statement made by Economic Affairs Minister, Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali that the ECRL project had been cancelled due to high costs, Dr. Mahathir seemed to defend the minister and instead blamed the media had wrongly interpreted the statement.
However Dr. Mahathir added, the Finance Minister, Lim Guan Eng will make the announcement on ECRL project after all the negotiation processes have been completed and a final decision is made.
The Cabinet under the former Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had approved the RM81 billion ECRL project in 2016.
China Communication Constructions Company Ltd (CCCC) was responsible for the construction while Export-Import Bank of China (Exim Bank of China) provides the finance.
Meanwhile MCA President, Datuk Seri Dr. Wee Ka Siong said the cancellation of ECRL project will leave several “damages” namely loss of jobs and harm to diplomatic ties, affects the economy and reputation of Malaysia.
He said, China is the largest trading partner since 2009 and bilateral trades reached USD100bil.
Dr.Wee added, 650,000 oil palm smallholders will be the potential group affected as it is now palm oil prices have dropped and the demand for the commodity is low.
In an open letter to Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and Cabinet Ministers on Jan.29, Dr.Wee said, “I earnestly hope the Cabinet can explore the effects of cancelling the ECRL project.”- Malaysia World News