Malaysiakini News

Daim to visit China to renegotiate ECRL, SSER projects

Published:  |  Modified:

Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) member Daim Zainuddin will be going to China as part of efforts to renegotiate the terms and costs of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) and the two projects under Suria Strategic Energy Resources Sdn Bhd (SSER).

This comes after Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng announced that the ministry has issued a notice to suspend the ECRL project and the two projects under SSER - the Multi-Product Pipeline (MPP) and the Trans-Sabah Gas Pipeline (TSGP) - with immediate effect.

The Edge Markets today reported Daim will be going to China ahead of Lim, who is also scheduled to visit China later this month over the same matter.

A spokesperson for the CEP confirmed with Malaysiakini that the purpose of Daim's trip will be to renegotiate the terms and costs of these projects.

However, the spokesperson declined to reveal when exactly Daim would be going on the trip.

The report by The Edge Markets also said that a source noted Daim may utilise fellow CEP member Robert Kuok's connections in China to smoothen the process.

While it was also reported that Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad would also be visiting China in August, an officer of the Prime Minister's Office said that thus far, no such plan has been confirmed.

Mahathir had previously said that Lim along with a delegation of MACC officers will travel to China soon to discuss the SSER projects with China officials.

However, the report said Lim will only leave for China after the new parliamentary session begins on July 16.

Lim had earlier said that the Finance Ministry was instructed by the prime minister to issue a suspension notice on the projects, after consulting with the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC).

This decision, Lim stressed, was directed towards the related contractors only, and not at any particular country.

Mahathir had also mentioned multiple times the "strange" terms of the ECRL contract, and expressed desire to renegotiate the terms and cost of the project.

In a statement on Tuesday, Lim also revealed that the actual total cost of the ECRL is expected to be around RM81 billion, instead of the RM55 billion the previous government had claimed.

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