‘Loan for ECRL on favourable terms’

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

PETAL­ING JAYA: The loan ob­tained for the East Coast Rail Line (ECRL) project from China is low in­ter­est and is on very favourable terms.

Barisan Na­sional strate­gic com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor Datuk Ab­dul Rah­man Dahlan said this to de­bunk for­mer prime min­is­ter Tun Dr Ma­hathir Mo­hamad’s crit­i­cism of the soft loan which he had al­leged would in­crease the coun­try’s debts con­sid­er­ably and also that the main con­trac­tor of the project would be Chi­nese.

“The soft loan given by the Ex­port-Im­port Bank of China is on very favourable terms with a low in­ter­est rate and has a 20-year ten­ure. It is also de­nom­i­nated in ring­git and not in US dol­lars or yuan as al­leged by Ma­hathir,” said the min­is­ter in the Prime Min­is­ter’s De­part­ment.

Ab­dul Rah­man also clar­i­fied that al­though the main con­trac­tor will be China’s largest con­struc­tion com­pany, “our agree­ment is that a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of this work will be sub­con­tracted to lo­cal com­pa­nies and there will be knowl­edge trans­fer as well”.

“Due to the rapid de­vel­op­ment of rail links in China over the past two decades re­sult­ing in a rail network of more than 125,000km, there is lit­tle doubt that China is now among the lead­ers in rail­ways and rail tech­nol­ogy.”

He also pointed out that some of the ma­jor projects dur­ing Ma­hathir’s ten­ure in­volved for­eign ex­per­tise, namely KLCC where the ar­chi­tect was an Ar­gen­tinean, Tower 1 was con­tracted to the South Kore­ans while a Ja­panese com­pany built Tower 2.

“It is re­gret­table that Ma­hathir re­peats the al­le­ga­tion that on a per kilo­me­tre ba­sis, the ECRL at RM55 bil­lion is over priced. These al­le­ga­tions have al­ready been proven un­true by an­swers pro­vided by (Trans­port Min­is­ter) Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and my­self.”

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