马来西亚叫停中国建设的1300亿元的铁路项目

刘植荣 转载自 CNN | 2018-07-06 10:21 | 收藏 | 投票
关键字:一带一路 

 

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2018年7月5日,中国交通建设股份有限公司向财新记者证实,已接到业主方马来西亚铁路衔接有限公司(Malaysia Rail Link)的通知,要求立即暂停马东铁路施工,且没有交代项目重启时间。中国交建方面对此表示遗憾,希望马方尊重双方此前签署的合约。

当地英文媒体The Edge Financial Daily报道称,马财政部下属的马来西亚铁路衔接有限公司于7月3日签署指令,以“国家利益”为由,要求马东铁路项目立即停工。该指令要求,在没有得到业主书面许可的情况下,中国交建不能从工地带走任何设备或材料,并要保护已经造好的部分,使其免于破坏。

英国《金融时报》称,这是马来西亚新政府叫停的第三个由中资支持的项目,前两个是输油管建设。马来西亚政府5日表示,正在调查前政府是否用输油管项目从中国得到的贷款来还“一马”基金的资金亏空,马来西亚前总理纳吉布近日已被捕。

(CNN)Malaysia has put the brakes on a massive China-backed rail project, citing excessive costs.

The multibillion-dollar rail line was supposed to connect Malaysia's east coast to the capital, Kuala Lumpur, and Thailand. The East Coast Rail Link was also meant to provide a trade route connecting China with markets beyond Asia.

The bulk of the work on the 620-kilometer (385-mile) rail line was awarded to state-owned China Communication Construction Company last year, and 85% of the financing was provided by the Export Import Bank of China.

Malaysia Rail Link, the company managing the project, confirmed reports that it had ordered the Chinese construction firm to suspend work on Wednesday. It declined to comment further.

The move came a day after Malaysia's finance minister said the total bill for the China-backed project was 81 billion Malaysia ringgit ($20 billion), far higher than earlier estimates. He said the cost would have to come down significantly for the project to be financially viable, according to Malaysian state news agency Bernama.

 

Related: Malaysia ditches Singapore rail link

The Malaysian finance ministry and China Communication Construction Company did not respond to requests for comment.

The suspension of the East Coast Rail Link is a signal Malaysia's new leader, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, is making good on his promise to rein in China's influence.

And it comes just over a month after Mahathir said he was ditching a planned $17 billion high-speed rail link with Singapore, saying it cost too much and likely wouldn't benefit many commuters.

His predecessor, Najib Razak, was a big proponent of China's Belt and Road initiative, Beijing's grand plan to invest hundreds of billions of dollars into ports, rail lines and other projects across Asia, Africa and parts of Europe. Under Najib, Malaysia signed up for an estimated $34 billion worth of infrastructure projects under the Chinese initiative, according to research firm Gavekal.

Mahathir wants to renegotiate the terms of those deals with Beijing.

"We hope to reduce costs a lot, because of a lot of wrong things [are] being done," he said at a news conference in June, referring to the East Coast Rail Link and the billions Malaysia would have to borrow from China to finish it.

Related: Mahathir: Malaysia's comeback prime minister

Some experts fear Belt and Road projects may pile debt onto smaller countries, putting China in a strong position to influence their strategic decisions or even gain control of important infrastructure.

That has already happened in Sri Lanka, where the port of Hambantota racked up heavy losses and was eventually signed over to its Chinese creditors last year.

Halting the East Coast Rail Link may help Malaysia avoid that fate, according to National University of Singapore fellow Johan Saravanamuttu.

"Loan terms and conditions need to be renegotiated to avoid the Hambantota port syndrome of over leveraged loans," he said.

The Financial Times reported that Malaysia has also suspended two China-backed pipeline projects this week, citing a senior Malaysian Finance Ministry official.

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