Cancelling the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) project will cost the government a “very large sum of money”, says Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.Thus, he said the government is looking into ways to lower the compensation needed to be paid to Singapore should the project be cancelled.
“The terms and agreement for the HSR are such that if we decide to drop the project, it would cost us a lot of money. We have entered into an agreement with Singapore. If we break the agreement, we have to pay a very large sum of money,” Mahathir was quoted as saying by The Edge Weekly. The HSR, worth RM100 billion, is one of several mega-projects initiated by former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak’s administration that Putrajaya is in the midst of reviewing. Another mega-project that could end up on the chopping block is the RM60 billion East Coast Rail Link (ECRL). Mahathir said it was “crazy” that Najib rolled out both projects at the same time.
“He didn’t seem to think about how we were going to pay for all these,” he said. “(He) knew very well that the ECRL, for example, is something we could not afford. It is not going to serve any purpose. It is not going to give us any returns. And yet, he went ahead and decided to build it,” he added. The prime minister said that the ECRL contract was “strange” as Malaysia had to fund the project with a loan from China, while also hiring contractors from that country. However, while the ECRL might be scrapped, the new Mahathir administration is not distancing itself from China.
The South China Morning Post reported that an internal memo from Mahathir dated May 14 to Foreign Ministry secretary-general Ramlan Ibrahim said that “our strong ties with China … will continue to flourish”.
There is still no trace of Sungai Besar Umno chief Jamal Md Yunos after he disappeared from a hospital in Kuala Lumpur yesterday while his bail was still being processed.
Astro Awani quoted Selangor CID chief Fadzil Ahmat as saying that police were still looking for him. “As of (10pm) we have yet to determine his location. We hope he will turn up and co-operate to complete the bail process,” Fadzil said. The Red Shirts leader was charged by a magistrate at the KPJ Ampang Puteri Specialist Hospital yesterday under Section 290 of the Penal Code, which is related to being a public nuisance. He claimed trial and applied for bail, but disappeared at about 3.30pm before the process was complete.
His lawyer Mohd Imran Tamrin said that Jamal’s disappearance from his hospital ward yesterday was unintentional, and could be due to unfamiliarity with out-of-court bail proceedings.
The Perak state government will soon fulfil one of the 31 promises in its 14th general election manifesto, that is to provide free water to targeted groups.Menteri Besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu said discussions about the matter were being carried out with related parties including the Perak Water Board (LAP).
“We have a very good chance to fulfil that particular promise soon.“So, we will first give a clearer definition of the targeted groups that will enjoy the free water,” he told reporters after attending a breaking-of-fast event at Masjid Jamek Ar-Rahmaniah, Chenderiang near Tapah tonight.The Chenderiang assemblyperson said although the free water initiative was among the state Pakatan Harapan’ promises that should be implemented within the first 100 days of its administration, it would depend on the state’s financial ability.