KUALA LUMPUR, March 22 (Bernama) — The government is expected to finalise the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project in early April with cost savings of more than RM10 billion, Council of Eminent Persons chairman Tun Daim Zainuddin said.
He said the project, which is becoming closer to reality, would have new commercial elements that would have a greater impact on Malaysian companies and people.
“When we discuss, we negotiate and I like to make a commercial deal.. a lot more (projects) will come our way and we will get more profit,” he said in an an interview on TV3’s prime-time “Bulletin Utama” tonight.
Commenting on the status of the discussion, Daim said Malaysia had received an invitation from the Chinese government to finalise the project on April 2.
“However, it could not be executed on the same day, instead in the same week.
“Alhamdulillah, in the present situation, we may be able to resolve this as soon as possible … I have a good relationship with them as I have known them since 1971. Maybe they are comfortable with me. I am an old man,” he said.
Daim has been appointed by the government as the special envoy of the Prime Minister to head the ECRL negotiation with China.
The ECRL project was previously approved by former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in October 2016 at the cost of RM55 billion.
However, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, on Wednesday, said that the government would be saddled with a RM130 billion debt if the ECRL project is implemented on current terms and conditions.
The 688-kilometer ECRL, if built, would link Port Klang in Selangor to Pengkalan Kubor in Kelantan.