Malaysian PM: Rail project will boost economy

Baku, April 16,AZERTAC

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad says resuming a China-backed rail project will boost investment, create jobs, and result in economic growth.

Last year, Mahathir suspended the construction of a railway connecting Malaysia's west coast and its eastern rural areas. He cited the high cost as a reason.

But last week the Malaysian government decided to resume the project, after it came to an agreement with China to cut the construction costs by a third.

On Monday, Mahathir spoke to reporters about the deal his government had reached with China.

Mahathir said his side had argued that other companies could complete the work for less money.

He added that the Chinese side may have realized that the cost of the project was too high.

Under the revised deal, the rail link will be about 640 kilometers in length, roughly 50 kilometers shorter than originally planned.

Local companies will also participate in the project more.

Mahathir stressed that the revised agreement is a solution to his country's concerns about the so-called Chinese debt trap.

The project is now scheduled to be completed by the end of 2026. That's about two and a half years later than the original target.

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