ECRL cancelled? Najib shows 'proof', Chinese official says talks ongoing

Modified 28 Jan 2019, 9:34 am

The status of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project continues to be mired in confusion with two separate incidents this afternoon.

At approximately 4pm today, former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak released a letter purportedly written by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng confirming that the project was off.

Malaysiakini is attempting to verify the authenticity of the letter with the Finance Ministry.

China's Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Kong Xuanyou, however, told Channel NewsAsia a different story, stating after a lunch with Wisma Putra officials that negotiations over the project are ongoing, and that no conclusion had been reached.

Putrajaya has not made clear what will happen to the ECRL, an ambitious and expensive rail project meant to link much of the East Coast to Klang.

The new Harapan administration believes that Malaysia cannot afford the project, which was set to be financed by a bank and built by a contractor owned by Beijing.

The original deal was negotiated by the Najib administration.

Last week, Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali said that cabinet decided last Thursday that the ECRL was cancelled.

The project comes under the purview of the Finance Ministry. Lim has refused to confirm or deny reports of its termination, and expressed surprise that Azmin had made the matter public.

Cancellation would likely lead to heavy compensation to the contractor, or at least some form of concession to Beijing.

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