Guan Eng urges China to understand Malaysia’s debt problem

Justin Ong
Lim assured China that the cancellation of projects did not mean Malaysia was opposed to China or its Belt and Road Initiative. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 20 — Putrajaya hopes Beijing will accept that Malaysia’s cancellation of projects awarded previously to Chinese firms was strictly due to its lack of funds, said Lim Guan Eng.

In a report by The Washington Post, the Malaysian finance minister acknowledged that Beijing was unlikely to be sympathetic to Putrajaya’s problems.

He also went on to assure the Asian superpower that the actions did not mean Malaysia was opposed to China or its Belt and Road Initiative.

“They must understand that we are taking concrete steps to deal with our fiscal health,” he was quoted as saying.

“Even if they don’t quite agree, [we hope] that they will lend us a helping hand by allowing us to avoid being buried under a mountain of debt.”

Malaysia cancelled three gas pipeline projects following Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s visit to Beijing; the contracts featured allegedly dubious payment schemes and suspected links to the 1MDB scandal.

The country is also trying to cancel the East Coast Rail Link that was also awarded to a Chinese firm.

Lim has repeatedly categorised Malaysia’s “debt” as over RM1 trillion.

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