Talks on Malaysia’s proposed East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project are still ongoing with its Chinese counterpart and Malaysia needs a little bit more time to address the issue, says Council of Eminent Persons chairperson Daim Zainuddin.
He said the country is looking at many options to handle the RM80 billion project, which he described as a “sensitive” issue so as not to upset the Chinese company.
“Give me a little bit of time and we will be able to address the issue,” the former finance minister said, adding that the Chinese party met him in Kuala Lumpur last week regarding the issue.
He was speaking to reporters at the Affin Hwang Capital Conference Series 2018 today.
Daim, who was appointed as the prime minister’s special representative to handle the ECRL project, went to China in August to help resolve the situation.
The ECRL project was first approved by the previous government on Oct 21, 2016, and the Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Commissioning Agreement was signed with China Communication Construction Company on Nov 1 that year.
However, the new government has scrapped the project, saying it was overpriced and not economically feasible.
Meanwhile, in his keynote address earlier, Daim said despite the accusations by the opposition of a “cut and paste” budget, he believed that Budget 2019 has the right focus and strategies towards achieving a New Malaysia.
“Governance and fiscal discipline will be the new order of the day.
“The 2019 Budget also enumerated a few measures to raise the disposable income of all Malaysians especially the B40 group.
“It is imperative that in our drive towards a free and prosperous nation, no one is left behind. We all know that no one chooses to be poor, and those who need help must be helped,” he said.
Asked for the latest update on businessman Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, he said: “Jho Low has not given up, and keeps on sending messages to me. We are opening our channels for him.”