PUTRAJAYA (March 4): The government has paid RM200 million in interest to the main contractor of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) says Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He said the interest payment is based on the RM55 billion loan taken from China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) as the main contractor of ECRL.
“In six months, we paying RM200 million just as interest for the RM55 billion debt committed by the previous government.
“This money should be used to help the people but was used to pay debts left behind,” he said in a media conference after opening the National Landscape Day at the Botanical Garden here yesterday.
The ECRL project which is a passenger and cargo railway line stretching 688 kilometres, was signed in October 2017 for completion in 2024, is now being reviewed by the government with negotiations still going on between Malaysia and China.
Elaborating further, Dr Mahathir said from the discussions with the contractor, it was found the project could be carried out at a cost of RM35 billion which is far lower than RM55 billion agreed earlier.
“It could be done at a cost of RM35 billion but why did the contract amounted to RM55 billion, maybe it is for someone to steal the money,” he said. - Bernama