Update: Chronology of ECRL flip-flop, blunders

Following is an update to the chronology of events – or rather, blunders – related to the ECRL status:

18th Jan 2019: Brylcream King (Lim Guan Eng) signs letter to cancel ECRL


22nd Jan 2019: Media reports that ECRL is cancelled


24th Jan 2019: Brylcream King’s boss, Mahathir, says he’s unaware that the ECRL was cancelled


26th Jan 2019: Azmin Ali confirms that ECRL is cancelled


26th Jan 2019: Brylcream King is shocked that ECRL was cancelled despite having signed cancellation letter.


26th Jan 2019: Brylcream King says Azmin was not in Cabinet meeting that decided virtually nothing on ECRL.


26th Jan 2019: Brylcream King backtracks, hints that Azmin may have been sleeping in Cabinet meeting, which is why he may not have known about a decision by Mahathir to let Lim make a decision on ECRL.


27th Jan 2019: Muhyiddin uncertain if ECRL is canceled:


28th Jan 2019: “Don’t ask me about ECRL, wait for Guan Eng to answer,” says Brylcream King’s boss.


29th Jan 2019: “Tun M asked me not to answer about ECRL,” says Brylcream King.


30th Jan 2019: China offers to slash ECRL cost by half, but outcome uncertain as Malaysia keeps contradicting itself


1st Feb 2019: Malaysia still renegotiating ECRL cost, says Bryclream King’s boss


1st Feb 2019: “I cannot tell you yet what’s happening,” says Bryclream King’s boss


PUTRAJAYA: The government is still in the midst of renegotiating the East Cost Railway Link (ECRL) project.

This is the reason why Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad refused to elaborate on the status of the project at present.

“I cannot say what is happening (relating to the ECRL). (We) have to wait for the results.

“For how long one has to wait? (If possible) as soon as possible,” Dr Mahathir told reporters after chairing the Pakatan Harapan (PH) presidential council meeting today.

The prime minister also declined to comment on the possibility of Malaysia considering to accept China’s offer to nearly halve the cost of ECRL of US$20 billion (RM81 billion).

It was reported that the conflicting statements made over the past week on the status of the ECRL had underscored the political and diplomatic challenges facing the government in renegotiating the contract.

Quoting sources, Contractor China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC) was reported to have offered to cut construction costs of RM67bil for the 688km project by as much as half.

After coming to power in May last year, Dr Mahathir, a critic of China’s investments in Malaysia, had vowed to renegotiate or cancel what he calls “unfair” Chinese projects authorised by his predecessor Datuk Seri Najib Razak, and suspended the ECRL in July.

However, on Wednesday (Jan 30), Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng was quoted saying that Malaysia was pursuing more talks with China.

This came days after another minister said the Cabinet had decided to terminate the contract and a day after Dr Mahathir sought China’s understanding over the planned cancellation.

Negotiations have continued since the July suspension, with Malaysia indicating that it was looking for cheaper proposals on what would have been China’s biggest Belt and Road venture in South-East Asia.

Source: NST Online

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