KUALA LUMPUR, March 21 — Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said he is thankful to Tun Daim Zainuddin for taking on the role as the government’s lead negotiator on the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project with China.

Lim said the negotiations would consume a lot of time, adding that he would not be able to carry out his other duties if he had been chosen.

“If we want to do negotiations for a contract that is that large and complicated, it is a fulltime job.

“To have me involved if I were to be chosen, I would not have time to do any other work... I would need to travel back and forth to Beijing, which is about seven hours flight,” he told a news conference in Parliament today.

Lim said the former finance minister is the perfect fit due to his extensive experience and expertise.

The Bagan MP said as a federal minister, he is also bound by protocol, which makes Daim suited for the role as the latter is not tied to them.

“He is not tied by protocols and as someone with such experience and expertise, I think we got the best person to do the negotiation.

“He is able to explore all other avenues… and he also doesn’t like protocol and can go around in a very straightforward manner.

“This is what we want, cut to the chase… a straightforward man,” he said.

Lim said the resolution from the negotiations will be presented to the Cabinet for a final decision to be made.