The truth about the RM44 billion ECRL

P Gunasegaram

Modified 15 May 2019, 10:44 pm


The chief negotiator for the RM44 billion East Coast Rail Link or ECRL, Daim Zainuddin, had some interesting things to say about the newly renegotiated deal with China, of which the chief one is that the ECRL would be loss-making for a “considerable period” after its completion in 2026.

However, in an interview with the South China Morning Post, he did not specify the length of the period that the ECRL would bleed red ink, but instead justified the decision to go ahead with the deal because of legal obligations to uphold the previous deal.

Daim even challenged those who criticised the deal to come out in the open. “Those who criticise, put it in writing and send it to the government. Come out in the open,” he said. “Don’t criticise. Some people say, why don’t you walk away from the agreement. You don’t have to pay one cent. Do they know the agreement or not?”

He added: “There is a binding agreement … it may be one-sided, but it is equally binding (on Malaysia). You can’t blame the Chinese. If you are silly enough to sign the agreement, then it’s your problem...”

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