PUTRAJAYA: The status of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project will be announced only by Minister of Finance Lim Guan Eng, said Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
"We wait for Lim Guan Eng’s statement. Be patient all," he said when asked by reporters on the status of the ECRL project after attending a closed briefing on Monday (Jan 28), with the leaders of statutory bodies, in conjunction with the Federal Statutory Bodies’ Highest Management Executives Programme.
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When asked about the contradictory statements made by other officials on the ECRL project prior to this, Dr Mahathir said that "everybody makes mistakes".
"Sometimes, everybody makes mistakes. Even though we make a small mistake, it appears so big only because we are a new government," he said.
Dr Mahathir also denied the distribution of letters using the government’s letterhead on the project.
"Nowadays, everybody can issue a letter using the government’s letterhead ... that is not official," he said.
Lim said on Sunday that all official statements on the ECRL project would be made this week.
According to Lim, the matter was very sensitive because it involved a contract with the China Communications Construction Group Ltd (CCCC) and numerous other parties.
Prior to this, the Minister of Economic Affairs Mohamed Azmin Ali had announced that the government had decided to cancel the ECRL project in a Cabinet meeting last Thursday. Lim was reported to be shocked by Azmin’s statement.
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Dr Mahathir said the government must find a way to tackle the problems of the high cost of living faced by the people in the country.
"We have to know what they are not happy about but they are mostly affected by the high cost of living.
"High cost of living doesn't mean anything to the rich people but for the poor people it is a big problem," he said.
He said these poor people mostly live in rural areas, and that the government has to find ways to reduce the cost of living and help them to earn a better income.