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(UPDATE) MALAYSIA: GOVT DROPS HSR, MRT LINE 3 PROJECTS

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia The government is committed to reducing the country’s borrowings by shelving mega projects costing billions of ringgit such as the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) and the MRT Line 3 projects.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the projects would cost too much money if they were to proceed as the country’s borrowings were already high.

“If the country is to avoid bankruptcy, we must learn how to manage our big debts and one of the ways is to do away with projects that are not beneficial to us,” he told a press conference after chairing a Cabinet meeting here today.

Dr Mahathir said the Cabinet decided to cancel the HSR project, considering its high financial implications, subject to discussion with the Singapore government.

Asked if the government would reconsider its decision if Singapore could prove that the project would benefit Malaysia, he said: “We will listen to them. They are our good partner.”

The Prime Minister said a briefing session on measures to be taken by the Ministry of Finance to control costs of the country’s administration would be held tomorrow.

On the East Coast Rail Link, Dr Mahathir said the project had not yet been cancelled, given that a lot of money had already been spent on it.

He said the government was currently studying its viability and how to handle it in a smart way.

Meanwhile, he said the mid-term review of the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP) would be tabled in Parliament in November 2018, along with Budget 2019.

The mid-term review will be modified to take into account the progress of projects from 2016 to 2018 and the new government direction for the remaining years (of 11MP) from 2018 to 2020,” he said.

Source: NAM News Network

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