The China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC) is believed to be seeking an amicable solution with Malaysia with regard to the reported cancellation of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project, according to The Star.
Sources claimed that the Chinese state-owned firm had agreed to bring the cost down closer to the RM40 billion range, compared to the initial cost, which was nearer to RM70 billion.
CCCC is said to have agreed to share operational costs and financial risk after construction is completed.
According to The Star, sources said this agreement was a notable feat, given that the construction giant was originally meant to just be the project contractor.
As such, CCCC was reportedly shocked when news of Putrajaya scrapping the project broke out over the past week.
The government had suspended the ECRL project in July 2018. It had been announced two months earlier that 14 percent of the project was complete.
Not taking talk lightly
The Star further said that CCCC had agreed to increase local participation from to 40-50 percent, from the initial 30 percent, in subsequent renegotiations.
The sources also reportedly said the company would not be taking talk of termination lightly, considering that it had given up so much.
They also claimed that CCCC, in its mitigating letter, was still open towards resolving the issue amicably.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the compensation for slashing the ECRL contract would be significantly lower than the debt the government would have to pay for the next 30 years if it was continued.
He said, however, that Malaysia was still in the process of negotiation, and that a final decision had not been made.
Singapore's Straits Times had initially reported that Putrajaya was in the process of seeking a new contractor to lead the ECRL project.
Last Saturday, Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali had said that the cabinet had decided to terminate the project, adding that this had been decided in a cabinet meeting two days prior.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng later said that he was shocked by Azmin's statement, and that the latter might not have been informed of certain matters decided by the prime minister regarding the project.
He subsequently explained that he was shocked by the timing of Azmin's statement, not by its content.