The Malaysian Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohammad, has said a Chinese company building a rail link across peninsula Malaysia will jointly help to manage, operate and maintain the network that will help reduce their financial burden. The East Coast Rail Link was suspended after Dr. Mahathir’s alliance swept to power last May, a decision that strained their relations with China.
Last week the project was revived after the contractor, the state-owned China Communications Construction Company Ltd., agreed to cut cost by one-third to 44 billion ringgit (10.7 billion dollars). The rail link connecting Malaysia’s west coast to eastern rural states is a key part of China’s Belt and Road infrastructure initiative.
On Monday Dr. Mahathir the government chose to renegotiate the deal rather than pay compensation of 5.3 billion dollars.
Under the new deal, the CCCC will form a joint venture with Malaysia Rail Link to operate and maintain the network. It is now slated for completion by 2026 end. Malaysia’s chief negotiator. Mr. Daim Zainuddin, was quoted as saying previously that the lower costs would mean the government would be paying less in interest.