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Dr Mahathir: ECRL project to continue if price is right

TheEdge Mon, Feb 25, 2019 01:37pm - 1 year ago

KLANG (Feb 25): Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today Malaysia will continue with the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project if the price is right. But for now, he said Malaysia and China have not agreed on the price for the project.

Malaysia's hope is to spend less money, said Dr Mahathir, adding that if the project costs more than RM55 billion, the country will need 30 years to repay the loan to finance the ECRL construction.

He said, "The (ECRL) cost will end up at RM140 billion plus interest costs."

"We cannot afford, therefore, we try to lower the costs. If not, we will postpone it. It is not because we do not want to build (the ECRL), but we have a lot of debts owned by 1MDB," he said here today at the launch of Metrod Holdings Bhd's new plant.

Work on the ECRL has been suspended since July 2018. Reuters reported then that the Chinese contractor for the ECRL confirmed that it suspended all work on the project as Putrajaya sought to renegotiate the terms of the deal with China.

It was reported that China Communications Construction Co Ltd said on July 5, 2018 it halted all work at the request of project owner Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd.

"Recently, the company has received a letter from Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd, the employer, which requires an immediate suspension of the contract under the ECRL project until further instructions," China Communications Construction was quoted as saying in a filing with the Hong Kong bourse.

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