Malaysia, China to sign new deal on ECRL project as Daim arrives in Beijing: Report

A sign promoting the East Coast Rail Link at Kota SAS, Kuantan, Pahang, in 2018.
A sign promoting the East Coast Rail Link at Kota SAS, Kuantan, Pahang, in 2018.PHOTO: ST FILE

KUALA LUMPUR (SIN CHEW DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - An agreement on the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project will be signed between Malaysia and China in Beijing on Friday (April 12).

A source from the Malaysian negotiation team told Sin Chew Daily that the Malaysian prime minister's special envoy Daim Zainuddin had arrived in Beijing and was negotiating the final details of the 688km project with China.

Tun Daim will host a press conference at the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing at 2pm Beijing time on Friday, where he is expected to announce the outcome of the final negotiation.

The rail project to link Port Klang on Peninsular Malaysia's west coast with Kuantan Port on the east coast was suspended from July last year, with Malaysia saying it was trying to lower the project's cost.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng hinted recently that the ECRL could cost RM36 billion (S$11.8 billion), down from about RM55 billion announced in 2016 by the Najib Razak administration, and RM81 billion as estimated by the present government.

Mr Daim, a former finance minister, told reporters in March: "We are almost there. Just need to tighten the screws here and there."

The Star, quoting sources last week, reported that the new deal would see a commitment by the Chinese government to buy Malaysian palm oil and bring in new projects.