Malaysia and China to ink MOU on infrastructure deal

Malaysia will sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China later this month, said Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai.
Malaysia will sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China later this month, said Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai.PHOTO: AFP

PUTRAJAYA (The Star/Asia News Network) - Malaysia will sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China on basic infrastructure development later this month, said Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai.

The MoU would be inked during Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's visit to China next week for the "One Belt, One Road" forum.

"The Cabinet has given the green light to the ministry to sign this MoU with China's National Development and Reform Committee," Mr Liow said after a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday (May 3).

Basic infrastructure refers to ports, highways, railways and such, he added.

The news comes as Malaysia and Singapore prepare to build a 350km high speed rail between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

The rail is slated to be completed by end-2026 and several countries with high-speed rail systems, including China and Japan, have been lobbying hard to get the contract.

Mr Liow, who is also president of the Malaysian Chinese Association, said on Wednesday he would also have meetings with China's Transport Minister Li Xiaopeng, as well as the head of the International Liaison Department of the Communist Party of China's Central Committee, Song Tao.

He said MCA and the Communist Party were cooperating closely on matters involving culture, education and cadre training, and that it was time to push for economic collaboration on the initiative.

"MCA has led representatives from the business sector to participate in a Belt and Road meeting in China, and the Communist Party has done the same for our forum here.

"We will discuss building a mutual platform to drive Belt and Road further," Mr Liow said.

E-commerce was also an area to be given emphasis because Malaysia has launched a Digital Free Trade Zone with Alibaba founder Jack Ma who has been appointed digital economy adviser to the government, he added.

The Belt and Road initiative, proposed by China in 2013, is aimed at building up the economic connectivity of 65 countries along its ancient silk road and maritime routes.

Mr Najib is among the 28 heads of state who have confirmed their attendance at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation which will be in Beijing on May 14 and 15.

On another development, Mr Liow said he has directed the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) to conduct a detailed investigation into an incident where a Malaysia Airlines aircraft's tyres deflated on landing.

"We want to know what happened, whether it was the tyres, the runway or the weather that caused it," he told reporters at an event to announce MAS' participation in the #Negaraku initiative.

Mr Liow said DCA has started investigating the incident, with director-general Datuk Seri Azharuddin Abdul Rahman going to the scene.

On Tuesday morning, Flight MH726 from Jakarta had two of its tyres deflate on landing at KL International Airport.

The passengers and crew safely disembarked and were transferred to the terminal by bus, along with their luggage.