Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Malaysia revives China-backed transport, property development

Malaysia revives China-backed transport, property development

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A model of the East Coast Rail Link project during its ground breaking ceremony in Kuantan, Malaysia in 2017. XINHUA

Malaysia revives China-backed transport, property development

MALAYSIA will revive a $34 billion Chinese-backed transport and property development that was abandoned in 2017, the prime minister said on Friday, adding the project would contribute to Beijing’s global infrastructure drive.

The announcement came after the countries agreed this month to resume work on a previously suspended railway project in Malaysia, and is the latest sign of improving ties after a rocky period.

The 140-billion ringgit ($34 billion) Bandar Malaysia development in Kuala Lumpur is expected to attract financial institutions and companies, and will be an interchange for a number of rail lines, said a statement from Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s office.

There were some changes to the original plan, including 10,000 units of affordable housing, and a “People’s Park”, it said.

Abandoned due to dispute

The project was originally launched in 2011 under the government of ex-leader Najib Razak, but was abandoned in 2017 during his administration due to a dispute about payments.

Najib lost power at historic elections last year, and has since been slapped with dozens of charges over his alleged role in looting state fund 1MDB.

The Bandar Malaysia project was initially backed by the scandal-hit state fund, but a major stake was later sold to a joint venture between a Malaysian firm and state-owned company China Railway Engineering Corp.

It will resume with the same contractors, who own a 60 per cent stake while the government owns the rest.

Bandar Malaysia and the revived rail link, which will run from Malaysia’s east to west coast, “should be viewed within the larger context of fostering and cementing long-term bilateral relations between Malaysia and China”, the statement said.

The projects will “be a significant contribution to the Belt and Road Initiative which Malaysia expects to be able to tap on”, it added.

Mahathir is due to join other world leaders at a summit focused on Beijing’s Belt and Road infrastructure drive in China next week. The $1 trillion programme includes maritime, rail and road projects in Asia, Africa and Europe.

Ties had been strained between the two countries since Najib, a close Beijing ally, lost power, and Mahathir suspended a series of Chinese-financed projects amid concerns the terms were unfair to Malaysia.

MOST VIEWED

  • Mysterious century-old structure found at bottom of Angkor pond

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has discovered a mysterious 1,000-year-old structure of a wooden building at the bottom of a pond after the Angkor Wat temple’s conservation team completed restoring its northern cave. The deputy director at ANA’s Angkor International Research and Documentation

  • Cellcard announces Cambodia’s first use of 5G to help Kingdom during Covid-19

    Cellcard on Friday announced Cambodia’s first use of 5G for a telemedicine service at four locations across Phnom Penh to help the Kingdom’s most critically ill during the Covid-19 outbreak. Cellcard, which is the only 100 per cent Cambodian-owned and "Proudly Khmer" mobile network

  • Former CNRP activist nabbed for offering online English classes

    Authorities detained a high school teacher in Kampong Chhnang province on Thursday after he was caught conducting online classes despite the fact that schools had been ordered to close temporarily to prevent Covid-19 infections. Keo Thai teaches at Boribo High School in Kampong Chhnang and

  • Health ministry warns against using virus-testing machines

    The Ministry of Health has threatened legal action against anyone who publicised their test results after using COVID-19 rapid testing machines. The ministry said such machines were not even approved or recognised for use by the World Health Organisation (WHO). It said test the results

  • National Assembly approves two coal-fired power plants

    The National Assembly (NA) unanimously approved draft laws paving the way for the construction of two coal-fired power plants worth $1.665 billion to supply 100 per cent of electricity required in the Kingdom by 2025. An NA member said at the session that the plants will be located

  • The good and bad of credit growth

    In the last 10 years, the property and construction sectors have propelled Cambodia’s economy. But rising borrowings threaten to dampen its future unless something is done soon They say all good things must come to an end, perhaps not “the” end. A slowdown in real