Najib urges finance minister to clarify proposal on ECRL refunds

By BERNAMA / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

Pekan MP Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak (picture) has asked Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng to clarify his statement about recovering RM10.02 billion from the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) if the project is cancelled.

Najib said Lim’s proposal to recover the sum from China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC) would not succeed because the money was paid by the Export-Import Bank of China (Exim Bank).

“All those payments were made by Exim Bank to CCCC. So, if we cancel the ECRL, Exim Bank will get the refund. My question now is, how will we get the RM10 billion? I am a bit confused.

“Maybe we will get some clarification on it soon,” Najib said when debating the 11th Malaysia Plan Mid- Term Review at the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

On Monday, Lim said the government will be able to recover RM10.02 billion in the event that the ECRL project is scrapped.

He said this sum represented payments made to CCCC totalling RM19.68 billion as advance and progressive payments up to Feb 15, 2018.

Najib also suggested the government to be conservative about the price of oil in planning for Budget 2019.

“Given the challenging state now, we should not base the budget on US$70 (RM291.20) per barrel. If global crude oil prices go down, we will be trapped,” he said.

Najib said the government should also concentrate on recovering funds that are missing from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) issue.

“We want to ensure that every ringgit of the 1MDB money is returned to Malaysia, which is why I have arranged for a settlement agreement with Abu Dhabi. I have spoken to the crown prince and worked out a solution.

“We made an agreement in 2015 where we received US$1 billion from International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC) and they have agreed to pay back US$3.5 billion to us and this is what is said as transfer of assets for debt — with this, we will get back US$6 billion in total. This is our solution,” he said.

Najib said the new government should continue its efforts to retrieve money stolen from 1MDB and interview those involved in the conspiracy.

“If they lied and siphoned the money, regardless of who they are, we have the right to know. This is our stand.

“I wanted to do this after the 14th General Election — the settlement agreement. They (Abu Dhabi) have to pay us back. We have until 2020. I request that Pakatan Harapan make the settlement agreement public. We have nothing to hide,” he said.