Real reason Japanese, Chinese firms want Bandar Malaysia project

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KUALA LUMPUR: Firms from China and Japan are aggressively bidding to become the master developer of Bandar Malaysia not just because it is the most expensive piece of property in the country.

They are after bigger fish: They want to land the contract for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) project, according to a report in Aseantoday.

China and Japan believe that getting involved in the development of Bandar Malaysia will help them get the HSR project.

Also, getting the Bandar Malaysia project will mean a greater prospect of getting a slice of the HSR project, because it will house the Kuala Lumpur terminus of the HSR link.

Bandar Malaysia will also be a central transport hub with connections to the mass rapid transit lines, KTM Komuter, Express Rail Link and 12 highways.

The HSR project is estimated to cost anywhere between RM43 billion and RM65 billion. The 350km-long line is expected to reduce travel time, making it a 90-minute ride between KL and Singapore.

Seven Chinese and two Japanese companies have submitted proposals said to be valued between RM30 billion and RM43 billion for the Bandar Malaysia project.

Beijing and Tokyo, according to the Aseantoday report, are continually lobbying Malaysia and Singapore for input in engineering and infrastructure developments.

Beijing has already won a RM55 billion contract to build the East Coast Rail Line.

The Ministry of Finance had, in May, cancelled a deal with a consortium made up of China Railway Engineering Corp (CREC) and Iskandar Waterfront Holding (IWH).

The report said the foreign investment flow into the Bandar Malaysia project would help the country repay debts incurred by 1Malaysia Development Berhad. Therefore, the ministry will work hard to ensure the new deal goes through.