Dr Mahathir calls for China’s help with fiscal problems


  • Nation
  • Monday, 20 Aug 2018

BEIJING (AFP): Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad called on China’s top leadership Monday to help solve his country’s fiscal problems, as he tries to revise major Beijing-backed projects signed under his scandal-plagued predecessor.

The 93-year-old leader, who returned for a second stint as premier following a shock election win in May, has railed against a series of deals struck with Chinese state-owned companies by the administration of toppled leader Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

His government has suspended China-backed projects worth more than US$22bil, including a major rail link, and Dr Mahathir had pledged to raise the issue of what he views as unfair terms related to some of the deals on his five-day trip.

During a press conference with Premier Li Keqiang at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, Dr Mahathir thanked China for agreeing to increase imports of speciality agricultural products, such as durian.

But even as he welcomed the agreements, Mahathir also said he expected more from the world’s second-largest economy.

”I believe that China will look sympathetically towards the problems that we have to resolve and perhaps help us in resolving some of our internal fiscal problems,” he said.

Dr Mahathir, who is expected to meet President Xi Jinping Monday afternoon, also warned that wealthy countries should not use their riches to take advantage of less developed nations.

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