Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has reiterated that the country cannot afford some of the Chinese-backed projects. (Source: Bernama)

Kuala Lumpur (VNA) –
Malaysia’s cancellation of some controversial China-backed infrastructure projects might cause an initial headache but will be beneficial in the long term, said an article published by Malaysian-based the Star Online news agency.

The cancellation means that Malaysia decides not to be fully involved in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

According to the Malaysian article, experts believe that cancelling the 55 billion MYR East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) and two gas pipeline projects – the Trans-Sabah Gas pipeline and the Multi-Product Pipeline – could drag down GDP growth, trade, and investments.

However, these projects would not benefit Malaysia in the long run due to their hefty costs. Running the ECRL would cost a fortune, and thus would not be an option for cheap transportation.

To mitigate short-term problems, experts recommended Malaysia prepare its own master plan to identify the country’s long-term growth drivers.

Ramon Navaratnam, chairman of the Asli Center of Public Policy Studies, said Malaysia should explore other markets for trade and investment and should not depend heavily on China. He added that agreements in the field should benefit both sides.

Earlier, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad repeated that the country cannot afford these projects. Furthermore, the terms of these contracts, coupled with elements of high corruption and inflated costs, rendered them non-beneficial.

Mahathir, taking the lead in Southeast Asia to renegotiate Chinese-backed investments, might prompt neighbouring countries to follow suit.

Other ASEAN countries involved in the BRI are Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia, Laos, and Cambodia. –VNA