Pakatan does a U-turn on scrapping the ECRL

Upsetting China may affect the export of palm oil to China

(MMO) – The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government has decided to renegotiate the East Coast Railway Line (ECRL) project instead of cancelling it since RM20 billion has already been paid out, Lim Guan Eng said.

In an interview with news portal The Malaysian Insight, the finance minister however did not specify how much cost the government was trying to reduce from the China-backed ECRL project, nor the terms of the contract.

“In the ECRL, we have already paid RM20 billion. So it doesn’t really make sense to just scrap it because we’ve already paid RM20 billion,” Lim was quoted saying.

Lim also reportedly said the government was reviewing the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project, with the Attorney-General tasked to look at the legal aspects of the project before Malaysia discussed it with Singapore.

“We have seen the numbers. There is the financial aspect, the engineering aspect and the legal aspect. We have studied the first two and we are now asking the AG to look at the third aspect,” Lim was quoted saying.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has reportedly said he found the contract for the ECRL project — whose contractor is state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd — strange because money from the RM55 billion loan given out by the Export and Import Bank of China was kept abroad and paid to the Chinese construction company in China, as opposed to drawing down the loan in Malaysia and paying it to the foreign company’s local subsidiary.