Important for Malaysia to save money, says Dr M

The previous govt had huge borrowings and we have to reduce them, or go bankrupt, says PM


The government will evaluate the agreements made by the previous government and decide which projects will be dropped or postponed, and the financial strength of the country to bear the cost of these developments, said Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“We are looking at agreements made by the previous government. If we can drop (them), we will drop them, or modify (them), we will modify them. We may postpone some of them. But to breach some of the agreements, it will cost us a lot of money.

“But, most importantly, it is for us to save money. The previous government has entered into huge borrowings and we have to reduce the borrowings. Otherwise, if we do not service the borrowings, we will go bankrupt,” according to Bernama.

Dr Mahathir was asked to comment about his statement that Malaysia will scrap projects signed with China. He is expected to visit China this week.

In an Associated Press (AP) news report, Dr Mahathir was quoted as saying that he will seek to cancel multibillion-dollar Chinese-backed infrastructure projects that were signed by his predecessor.

The PM said he wants to maintain good relations with China and welcomes its investment, so long as the projects benefit Malaysia.

Malaysia had put two projects on the backburner — two gas pipelines and a rail project — both backed by the Chinese government. The suspension of the over RM80 billion projects are expected to feature predominantly in his visit to Beijing.

“We don’t think we need those two projects. We don’t think they are viable. So, if we can, we would like to just drop the projects,” he was reported by AP.

Malaysia signed the deal for the 688km East Coast Rail Link and two gas pipelines in 2016.

Dr Mahathir also urged China to respect the free movement of ships throughout the South China Sea, where China and multiple South-East Asian nations, including Malaysia, have competing claims on islands and reefs — along with the rich fishing grounds and potential fossil fuel deposits around them. — TMR