SUBANG JAYA: Former finance minister Daim Zainuddin has questioned if the RM60 billion East Coast Railway Link (ECRL) project was a form of investment to the country, or if it is actually a loan.
He said if the government has to repay the cost of the project — which reportedly will be funded through a loan from the Export-Import Bank of China — then it is the latter, not an investment like Putrajaya had claimed.
“If it’s true that the project brings in money, then okay. How much investment does it bring (to the country)?
“Does the train (ECRL) bring in money?
“If it’s a loan, it has to be paid back. If it has to be paid back, is that an investment? If you’re an investor, what would you say?
“(You would say) it’s not an investment, it’s a loan.”
Daim was speaking to reporters after a closed-door dialogue session here today, urging the government to bring investments into the country so job opportunities will be made available to the people.
He said this is a matter that has to be dealt with immediately, considering the fact that the public, including university graduates, are facing difficulty securing employment.
“Investments are important to create jobs. There are reports stating that many can’t get a job.
“So the government should create an environment where investors will come in, resulting in job opportunities.
“I read a report by Malaysian Trades Union Congress which spoke about retrenchment. So we have to address this issue immediately,” he said.
Certain quarters have expressed concern over investments from China in Malaysia, especially on the aspect of the country’s sovereignty.
Prime Minister Najib Razak, however, has denied such claims, saying the government will continue to protect Malaysia’s independence.