KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia said on Friday it will revive a multi-billion dollar property project to be built by a China-linked venture, nearly two years after it was canceled.
The Bandar Malaysia project will resume with the original contractors - a joint-venture between Malaysian firm Iskandar Waterfront Holdings and China Railway Engineering Corp (CREC) - but under a new development plan, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said.
The announcement comes barely a week after Malaysia and China said a multi-billion dollar rail project was back on track after months of negotiations that strained ties between the two trade partners.
“Bandar Malaysia will have significant impact on Malaysia’s economy and will serve as a global hub to further attract high impact global finance, technology and entrepreneurial firms,” Mahathir told reporters.
The $1.7 billion Bandar Malaysia project was originally a deal struck by former Prime Minister Najib Razak to ease the debt burden of scandal-plagued state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), but collapsed in May 2017 over payment disputes.
The project was also supposed to serve as the terminus for a planned Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR), which Mahathir’s government shelved last year over its cost.
The project’s new plan, will include the construction of a “People’s Park”, 10,000 affordable flats and prioritize the use of local content and participation of contractors from the majority bumiputra - which roughly translates to sons of the soil - Malay community.
Mahathir said the project will also set aside some land to build a terminus station, should they decide to bring the HSR project back on track.
However, Mahathir did not say how much the project would cost with the additional requirements.
Mahathir said the IWH-CREC joint-venture has agreed to pay a 500 million ringgit ($121.04 million) advance payment on the land that will be used for the project, to be paid within 60 days from the cabinet’s decision to reinstate the project on April 17.
Reporting by Joseph Sipalan; Editing by Nick Macfie