Najib calls for inquiry into cancelled China projects


PETALING JAYA - Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak wants a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to be set up to look into the cancellation of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project and two pipeline projects.

In a Facebook post on Thursday (Aug 23), the former prime minister said that the RCI should investigate all three projects to determine if there was indeed any wrongdoing involved.

He said that the people deserve to know if the decision to cancel the projects was based on reason, and not because of any lingering resentment towards the previous Barisan Nasional administration or the Chinese government.

"It is better for the Pakatan Harapan Government to disclose all contracts, feasibility and economic impact studies, and cost-benefit analyses to see if it is better for Malaysia to continue with these three projects or to cancel them," he said.

Najib, who is also Pekan MP, said that many of his constituents were disappointed to learn of the ECRL project cancellation as they could see that there was economic benefit to be reaped from it.

"Until those documents are disclosed, I am disappointed and sad for the people in the east coast of the peninsula because they would lose potential development in their states and a chance to raise their economic status to equal that of those in the west coast," he said.

Addressing misconceptions about the ECRL project, Najib denied allegations that the cost had been inflated from RM30bil to RM55bil as the initial figure was based on a 545km line which was later extended to 688km.

He also said Malaysia could afford the project even if it reaches the RM81 billion (S$27 billion) estimation by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

Najib also said he would not comment on Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's remarks that his administration was "stupid", but added that the contracts concerned had exit clauses.

"This is not like the Independent Power Producer (IPP) concession agreements or the toll agreements signed during Dr Mahathir's era where, until now, the Pakatan government cannot fulfil its promise to abolish tolls," he said.

Dr Mahathir announced the cancellation of the ECRL and the construction of two gas pipelines in Sabah on Tuesday (Aug 21).