Malaysia's Mahathir to visit China for talks on projects

The projects to build two pipelines were signed in 2016 by the administration of former Malaysian prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak

The projects to build two pipelines were signed in 2016 by the administration of former Malaysian prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak

The source added that Malaysia was seeking the Chinese regime's cooperation with the investigation into the loan, while exploring whether funds invested in the pipeline projects could be recouped.

East Coast Rail Link will connect the South China Sea in the east coast of Peninsula Malaysia with strategic shipping routes in the west and is a major part of China's infrastructure push across Asia and beyond.

"The decisions are exclusively directed toward the related contractors, relating to the provisions mentioned in the agreements, and not at any particular country", the finance ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

Malaysian and Chinese officials are in talks for Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad to visit Beijing soon, two sources with knowledge of the discussions told Reuters, after Kuala Lumpur suspended China-backed projects worth more than $20 billion.

The new Malaysian government, led by Mahathir Mohamad, has disclosed in recent weeks how the Najib administration used federal agencies and government money to bail out the debt-ridden 1MDB, which is being investigated in at least six countries. It is created to be part of China's Belt and Road initiative to form a huge economic zone that spans Asia and Europe.

The second-time prime minister said there was no proof to confirm or deny that the princely sum originated from and returned to the country, as previously alleged by Najib.

In May, Mahathir announced that Malaysia would withdraw from a high-speed rail project linking Kuala Lumpur with Singapore.

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China Communication has said it regrets the suspension. (CCCC) responded to the notice with its own news release stating that the ECRL contract had been signed with Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Berhad (MRL), which represented the Malaysian government.

"Hopefully in the future, we can progress to become a group which promotes human rights and civil liberties in Malaysia irrespective of political affiliation", it said in its description. The indefinite suspension could cause additional costs, losses and damages, the company said.

"We are upset and concerned about the livelihood of our 2,250 local staff, as well as several hundred subcontractors, suppliers and consultancy firms", the statement read.

"We respect and comply with Malaysian laws".

The contract approved by Najib calls for CCCC to build the rail line and for the Malaysian government to finance 85 percent of the cost through loans from the Export-Import Bank of China with the remaining 15 percent funded through a bond program managed by three Malaysian banks.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng and Daim Zainuddin, who chairs a top-level economic advisory council drawn from the private sector, are also visiting China separately.

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