China confident of accord with Malaysia on ECRL, says ambassador

John Bunyan

Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Bai Tian (right) visits the China Railway Rolling Stock Corp (CRRC) Rolling Stock Centre with Transport Minister Anthony Loke in Batu Gajah January 3, 2019. ― Picture by Farhan Najib

BATU GAJAH, Jan 3 ― Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Bai Tian is optimistic that China and Malaysia can come up with a win-win situation on the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project, which was shelved after Pakatan Harapan came to power.

“Both parties had agreed to leave the matter to the working committee to negotiate and come up with a report.

“We are still optimistic about the outcome of the report. We hope by mutual respect, goodwill and spirit of mutual benefit, the two countries will come up with a win-win situation,” he told reporters after visiting China Railway Rolling Stock Corp (CRRC) Rolling Stock Centre here.

When asked when the report would be completed, Bia Tian said he did not have a specific timeline on the matter.  

On Monday, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad told Sin Chew Daily in an interview that the project, which was suspended last July could resume if China agrees to do it on a smaller scale.

Dr Mahathir said both countries are still in talks on the matter and have not arrived at a good solution.

He also said that the ECRL is a waste of money as the government would not get any returns from the rail project and there is no way for Putrajaya to tax the concessionaire.

The RM81 billion ECRL project was approved under former prime minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, in October 2016.

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