ECRL cancelled until we can afford it, says Dr M

PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) and Trans-Sabah Gas Pipeline (TSGP) projects would be cancelled until Malaysia could afford them.

Speaking to reporters at the end of his five-day official visit to China, he said the focus now was to solve Malaysia’s financial deficit.

He added that no more project deals which were detrimental to Malaysia’s interest would be allowed, although he maintained that Chinese investors understood his business-friendly stand.

The Prime Minister’s Office confirmed the comments Mahathir made to reporters in Beijing.

Mahathir said Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang understood the reasons behind the cancellation of the two Chinese government-backed projects.

“I have explained to them. They understand the situation and have accepted this,” he said, adding that reducing debts and loans was now the priority for Malaysia.

The prime minister also commented on other issues, including:

The Council of Eminent Persons (CEP)

“CEP led by Daim Zainuddin will continue, not for 100 days only.”

Fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho

“I do not know if Jho Low is in China, as has been reported.”

Asked what would he do if Jho Low were sitting next to him at the moment, Mahathir said in jest: “I will handcuff him.”