cloudyn.png
Friday November 15th, 2019 9:20PM

Malaysian PM says China-financed projects canceled

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

BEIJING (AP) — Multibillion-dollar China-financed projects in Malaysia have been canceled because they aren't needed and will saddle the country with an unsustainable amount of debt, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad told reporters on the final day of a visit to Beijing on Tuesday.

Mahathir told Malaysian reporters that both Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang understood the reasons behind the cancellations and "accepted them."

The projects, comprising a $20 billion East Coast Rail Link and two energy pipelines worth $2.3 billion, had already been suspended pending renegotiation.

"It's all about pouring in too much money which we cannot afford, we cannot repay and also because we don't need these projects for Malaysia at this moment," Mahathir said.

While the projects could be restarted in the future if considered necessary, Malaysia's current focus is on reducing the national debt, he said.

"With that debt, if we are not careful we can become bankrupt," Mahathir said, blaming the "stupidity" of the administration of his predecessor, Najib Razak, whom he ousted in elections earlier this year and now faces charges of massive corruption.

Malaysia will still have to pay "substantial" penalties to extract itself from the projects and also needs to "find out where money that has been paid for the projects have gone to," Mahathir said.

Trade and economic cooperation between China and Malaysia have provided tangible benefits to both, although "it is inevitable for countries to encounter various problems and have disagreements in different stages," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters at a daily briefing on Tuesday.

Such disagreements should be handled "in a proper manner through friendly consultation," Lu said.

Days before heading to Beijing, Mahathir was already saying Malaysia didn't need the projects, part of Xi's Belt and Road initiative to build ports, railways and other trade-related infrastructure across Asia, often built by Chinese contractors and financed by loans from Chinese state banks.

At a news conference with Li on Monday, Mahathir said he appreciated China's understanding of Malaysia's need to deal with its "internal fiscal problems," but also hinted at the threat of Chinese economic domination.

"We should always remember that countries' level of development ... are not all the same," he said. "We do not want a situation where there is a new version of colonialism happening because poor countries are unable to compete with rich countries in terms of just open free trade. It must also be fair trade."

Belt and Road projects in Thailand, Sri Lanka and other countries have run into complaints that they are wasteful, too costly, give too little work to local companies or might facilitate embezzlement and other graft.

Also during his news conference, Mahathir said he didn't raise the issue of fugitive financier Low Taek Jho during his visit. He said Low is "probably" hiding in China but he has no proof of this.

The U.S. Justice Department alleges Low was a key figure in the theft and international laundering of $4.5 billion from Malaysia's 1MDB investment fund by associates of Najib.

___

Associated Press writer Eileen Ng in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP World News, AP Business, AP Business - Financial Markets
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Malaysian PM says China-financed projects canceled
Malaysia's state news agency has cited Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad as saying that multibillion-dollar China-financed projects have been canceled
3:40AM ( 15 minutes ago )
Indian military scales down flood rescue operations
Military scales down rescue operations in south India, where intense floods killed more than 200 people and drove hundreds of thousands from their homes
3:14AM ( 42 minutes ago )
Pick 6: Some old geezers to watch this season
Anyone who pays attention to the NFL knows that Tom Brady is 41 as he heads into the season
3:10AM ( 45 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
El Salvador, Taiwan break ties as China isolates island foe
Taiwan has broken diplomatic ties with El Salvador as the Central American country defected to Beijing in the latest blow to the self-ruled island China has been trying to isolate on the global stage
1:38AM ( 2 hours ago )
Indonesia: Lombok quakes don't meet national disaster status
Indonesia's disaster agency says earthquakes that have killed more than 500 people on the island of Lombok in the past month and caused half a billion dollars in damage don't rise to the level of a national emergency
12:55AM ( 3 hours ago )
Australia's Turnbull survives leadership vote; Dutton leaves
Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called on his government to unite behind him after he survived a leadership challenge Tuesday, defeating a senior minister in an internal ballot that is unlikely to settle questions of his support
12:55AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP World News
Man admits wife's murder, blames her for daughters' deaths
A Colorado man is due back in court Tuesday to formally learn that he has been charged with the murders of his pregnant wife and two daughters
12:36AM ( 3 hours ago )
Asian shares gain despite doubts over US-China trade talks
Asian shares gain despite doubts over prospects for US-China trade talks
12:27AM ( 3 hours ago )
Animal crackers break out of their cages
Nabisco's animal crackers to break out of their cages in new box design
12:19AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Business
Indian military scales down flood rescue operations
Military scales down rescue operations in south India, where intense floods killed more than 200 people and drove hundreds of thousands from their homes
3:14AM ( 42 minutes ago )
Pick 6: Some old geezers to watch this season
Anyone who pays attention to the NFL knows that Tom Brady is 41 as he heads into the season
3:10AM ( 45 minutes ago )
LEADING OFF: Stanton returns to Miami, Altuve off the DL
LEADING OFF: Stanton returns to Miami, Altuve off the DL, Jones gets odd reunion with Blue Jays rookie
3:03AM ( 53 minutes ago )
WR trio will have to pick up slack at No. 4 Wisconsin
The suspension of Quintez Cephus leaves Wisconsin without one of its top receivers for the foreseeable future
2:55AM ( 1 hour ago )
Taliban rockets hit near Kabul presidency; no injuries
Afghan police: Taliban fire rockets toward presidential palace as president was giving his holiday message; no injuries
2:53AM ( 1 hour ago )