Malaysia To Scrap Multibillion-Dollar Chinese-Led Infrastructure Projects Under OBOR InitiativeMalaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad

In an attempt to reduce Malaysia’s US$250 billion national debt, the country’s newly elected Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohammad said on Monday that he will scrap multibillion-dollar Chinese-backed infrastructure projects initiated by his predecessor Najib Razak under the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative.

In a wide-ranging interview with the Associated Press published on Monday, the Malaysian Prime Minister said China-backed projects like the gas pipelines and the rail link along the country’s peninsular eastern coast as unviable.

The East Coast Rail Link is estimated to cost US$20 billion and the combined cost of two pipeline projects is worth close to US$2 billion.

“ We don't think we need those two projects. We don't think they are viable. So if we can, we would like to just drop the projects," Mahathir said. He also added that if scrapping the projects completely is not feasible, Malaysia may put the projects on the back burner until the future, “where perhaps the need will arise”.

The nonagenarian Prime Minister, who pulled off a surprise electoral victory in the recent election, also warned against any further militarisation of the South China Sea and made a call for warships not to be permanently stationed there.

During his tenure in office, the previous prime minister forged a close relationship with China. Beijing views Malaysia as a key part of its ambitious OBOR initiative.

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