No topic fixed for meeting with PM Lee tomorrow: Mahathir

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad (right) said he will discuss any issues raised by his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong.
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad (right) said he will discuss any issues raised by his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong.PHOTOS: AFP, BLOOMBERG

PETALING JAYA • Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has said that no topics of discussion have been fixed for his meeting with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong tomorrow.

"We haven't fixed any subject. We will have a discussion, and if he raises any issues, we will discuss them," Tun Dr Mahathir told reporters yesterday.

 

"But at the moment, I am still trying to figure out our stand with regard to certain issues, which is not finalised yet. So, I cannot tell you what I will discuss with Hsien Loong," he said.

Dr Mahathir was asked what he and PM Lee would discuss when they meet, and whether the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) would be on the agenda.

He was at a press conference at Yayasan Selangor, after a meeting of the Pakatan Harapan presidential council, the top decision-making body of the coalition in government after the May 9 election.

PM Lee had told Singapore's Parliament on Wednesday about his planned meeting with Dr Mahathir, adding: "I will tell him that I look forward to working with him again for mutual benefit."

Dr Mahathir had, during the campaign and last Saturday, said that his new government will review all foreign contracts and projects, including the HSR and the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL).

 
 
 

Construction on the 350km HSR was expected to start next year, with trains running between both cities by 2026.

As for the ECRL, ground was broken last August on the project which links Port Klang in Selangor with Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan, with completion targeted for 2024. It is being built and funded by Chinese state companies.

Asked about such Chinese investments yesterday, Dr Mahathir said: "We have made clear that we want to look into all these contracts again because they are very costly for the government and we will incur huge debts which we cannot pay."

"But we will respect all agreements," he added.

As for whether he would bring up the ongoing probe into scandal-plagued state fund 1MDB with PM Lee, Dr Mahathir said: "He has said that he will be helpful, and if there is a need for me to ask him for help, I will shout 'help'."

The Singapore authorities said on Wednesday that they are fully prepared to extend further assistance to their Malaysian counterparts on 1MDB-related transactions.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 18, 2018, with the headline 'No topic fixed for meeting with PM Lee tomorrow: Mahathir'. Print Edition | Subscribe