BEIJING: It took the Malaysian team nine months to negotiate the scaled down East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) deal which saved the country RM21.5bil.
Tun Daim Zainuddin, who led the negotiations with China, said he was satisfied with the outcome.
The former finance minister, who has represented the country in numerous negotiations since 1981, described his ECRL assignment as the “longest, most complicated and challenging deal” he had ever been involved in.
“It started in July last year and praise God, we managed to achieve it. Bilateral (negotiation) is not easy, very complicated, challenging and many things have to be done in the process,” he told a press conference at the Malaysian Embassy here yesterday.
Asked why China agreed to bring down the cost, Daim said the previous price agreed by the Barisan Nasional government was “too high”.
“The Pakatan Harapan government is more careful with its expenditure.
“We brought in experts, we showed them the pricing,” he said, attributing the success to the good negotiation skills of his team.
With this year marking the 45th anniversary of Malaysia-China relations, Daim hoped that the resumption of the ECRL project would give more confidence to Chinese investors in Malaysia.
“We hope to see more Chinese investors and tourists coming to Malaysia,” he said.