Illustrative photo (Photo: thestar.com.my)

Kuala Lumpur (VNA) – Malaysia continued its efforts to rein in spending by reducing cost of a multi-billion-dollar mass rapid transit (MRT) project.

The Ministry of Finance on October 7 announced that it cut 5.22 billion ringgits (1.27 billion USD) from the above-ground portion of the 14 billion USD MRT2 project. It also accepted a new construction tender by the MMC-Gamuda consortium.

As the Malaysian Government and the MMC-Gamuda failed to reach an agreement for the underground portion, construction for this part will be tendered out through an international open tender process.

Currently, Malaysia is grappling with debts of up to 1 trillion ringgits while state revenues have been curbed by the removal of the goods and services tax (GST) by the sales and service tax (SST).

Since Prime Minister Mohamad Mahathir assumed power in May 2018, he has reviewed all billion-dollar infrastructure projects, many of which were cancelled or suspended due to budget limitation.

The MRT2 is designed to link Putrajaya where the government is based and Sungai Bulong in the north of Kuala Lumpur. The project was initially earmarked to cost about 28 billion ringgits (6.74 billion USD), but the budget then ballooned to 56.93 billion ringgits (14 billion USD) following a plan to extend a road to Bandar, where the previous government want to develop into a transport hub.-VNA