PUTRAJAYA - Malaysia will be "impoverished" if the government proceeds with the multibillion-dollar East Coast Railway Link project, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Tuesday (Jan 29).
While he did not confirm that the RM81 billion (S$27 billion) project had been scrapped, Tun Mahathir said paying compensation for cancelling the China-backed mega rail link was still cheaper than bearing the project's cost.
"We are burdened with heavy debts. We seek understanding from all parties. We will be impoverished by the project if we go on," he told reporters after launching the country's first National Anti-Corruption Plan.
"The huge compensation for cancelling it is not as huge as the amount we have to carry for the next 30 years," he said.
Dr Mahathir said the official status of the project will be announced by the Ministry of Finance soon.