KUALA LUMPUR (March 21): Former Finance Minister Tun Abdul Daim Zainuddin is the best candidate to lead the negotiation on the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) as it involves a big and sophisticated contract, says Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.
He was responding to a comment by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that the government chose former Abdul Daim to lead the negotiation on the ECRL project due to the latter's skills.
Dr Mahathir had been asked as to why the government decided to choose Abdul Daim as the negotiator with China on the ECRL project instead of Lim.
Speaking to reporters at Parliament today, Lim said being a finance minister was a full time job and it was better to have another candidate.
"And if I was selected to lead the negotiation, where would I have time to do other works.
"And remember, we have to travel to Beijing very frequently, that's seven-hour flight, unlike Singapore, that is only one-hour flight.
"And if it involves ministry level, we would be restricted by protocols," he said.
Lim said that in Abdul Daim, the Malaysian government has the best person to do the re-negotiation, and that he is able to explore all other avenues, as he is not so tied down by protocols.
"And this is what we want, cut to the chase, straight forward manner.
"And when he comes to a resolution, and we are very confident that he can come to a resolution, and come to cabinet, for cabinet to make the final decision," he said.