Malaysia could leave Beijing high and dry as it aims to stall OBOR projects in Malaysia. PM Mahathir Mohamad said on Monday that his government seeks to cancel the multibillion-dollar projects signed by the previous government and pull the nation out of the massive debt.
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The Malaysian Prime Minister will be visiting China soon. This would be his first visit to China for returning to power in Malaysia three months ago. He stated that he is determined to maintain good relations with Beijing and will also welcome Chinese investment as long as it’s beneficial for Malaysia.
The former Prime Minister of Malaysia was known to be pro-China. Under his tenure, Malaysia singled massive infrastructure deals with China under the One Belt One Road Initiative of Beijing. But ever since the new government came to power, it has been critical of the multi-billion dollars projects awarded to Chinese firms by the previous government under Najib Razak. Chinese backed energy pipelines and a high-speed rail project along Malaysia’s eastern coast were among the key projects agreed upon by the previous Malaysian government.
Talking about the pipeline project and the rail project along the eastern coast, Mahathir Mohamad said that he doesn’t think that Malaysia needs these projects. He stated that he doesn’t think that these projects are viable and his government would like to drop these projects.
Najib Razak who drew Malaysia closer to China during his tenure did now facing a flurry of corruption charges. He made deals with China for the construction of the 688 kilometres railway link and two gas pipelines in 2016. If Malaysia pulls back from the highly ambitious One Belt One Road Initiative then it will be a big blow to China.