Malaysia revives US$34 billion China-backed transport and property development project

PUBLISHED ON May 21, 2019

Malaysia will revive the US$34 billion Chinese-backed Bandar Malaysia development.

The transport and property development was abandoned in 2017. The project now, would contribute to Beijing’s global infrastructure drive.

The announcement came after the countries agreed to resume work on a previously suspended railway project in Malaysia. It is the latest sign of improving ties after a rocky period.

The Bandar Malaysia development in Kuala Lumpur will attract financial institutions and companies. It will be an interchange for a number of rail lines, said a statement from Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s office.

There were some changes to the original plan, including 10,000 units of affordable housing and a “People’s Park”, it said.

The government of ex-leader Najib Razak originally launched the project in 2011. The plan was abandoned in 2017 during his administration due to a dispute about payments.

Najib lost power at historic elections last year and has been slapped with charges over his alleged role in looting state fund 1MDB.

The Bandar Malaysia development was initially backed by the scandal-hit state fund. But a major stake was later sold to a joint venture between a Malaysian firm and state-owned company China Railway Engineering Corp.

It will resume with the same contractors, who own a 60 percent stake while the government owns the rest.

The projects will “be a significant contribution to the Belt and Road Initiative which Malaysia expects to be able to tap on,” it added.

Mahathir joined other world leaders at a summit focused on Beijing’s Belt and Road infrastructure drive in China recently. The $1 trillion program includes maritime, rail and road projects in Asia, Africa and Europe.

Source: Hong Kong Free Press