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Malaysia in transition

Malaysia spares $14bn China-led rail project from budget ax

Mahathir's finance minister says big chunk of money already paid by Najib government

Najib Razak, Malaysia's prime minister at the time, and other Malaysian and Chinese officials attend the groundbreaking for the East Coast Rail Link in August 2017.

KUALA LUMPUR -- Malaysia's deal with China for a 55 billion ringgit ($13.8 billion) rail link will proceed despite new Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's effort to roll back questionable spending, the finance minister said Friday, citing costs already paid on the project.

The East Coast Rail Link connecting Malaysia's biggest port to the Thailand border was expected to be scrapped after Mahathir's government canceled a high-speed railway to Singapore in an urgent bid to reduce government expenses and debts.

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