Beijing releases song to woo KL

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said that the East Coast Railway Link project had in fact not been cancelled, and that the two sides were "still negotiating".
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said that the East Coast Railway Link project had in fact not been cancelled, and that the two sides were "still negotiating".PHOTO: BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR • China is hoping a song will remind Malaysia of warmer relations in the past, days after a US$20 billion (S$27 billion) project that it backed was seemingly scrapped by the South-east Asian nation.

The Chinese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur released the song on Monday on its Facebook page to commemorate 45 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Titled Bahu Kiri, or "left shoulder" in Malay, and sung in Mandarin, the lyrics speak of a friendship against all odds while referring to the South China Sea as "heart-rending" and reminding the two nations that they share one shoreline.

"My right shoulder protects you from the wind and the rain, my left shoulder is for you to hang on to," the song goes.

The timing of its release coincided with Malaysian officials indicating in recent days the scrapping of the East Coast Rail Link project, with China Communications Construction Company as the main contractor.

But Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said last evening that the project had in fact not been cancelled, and that the two sides were "still negotiating".

The Chinese firm took steps last Thursday to rationalise its workforce following instructions from the Malaysian Finance Ministry last year to suspend related contracts.

The Chinese Embassy is expected to release the Malay version of the song soon.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 30, 2019, with the headline 'Beijing releases song to woo KL'. Print Edition | Subscribe