No such thing as mineral rights for China contractor, says ECRL project owner

A general view of the construction site of the East Coast Rail Link project in Bentong July 10, 2018. — Bernama pic
A general view of the construction site of the East Coast Rail Link project in Bentong July 10, 2018. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, April 23 — Malaysia Rail Link (MRL) refuted today allegations that China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC) will be able to claim any minerals during the construction of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project.

The Malaysian ECRL project owner, which will form a 50-50 joint venture with CCCC to operate the ECRL, cited Section 40 of the National Land Code that any rock minerals belonged to the state where they were found.

“Hence, we would like to dispel recent commentaries and news reports which suggested that CCCC may be able to extract minerals such as gold or silica and take ownership of such minerals in the midst of their construction of the rail network,” MRL said in a statement.

MRL, a subsidiary of Minister of Finance Incorporated (MOF Inc), also reiterated that it would have full ownership of assets in its joint venture with CCCC and that the joint venture’s board and CEO would be appointed by the Malaysian government.

“As project and asset owner of the ECRL, MRL will like to stress that there is no truth to recent commentaries and news reports which appear to suggest that Malaysia risked ceding assets and sovereignty to China as a result of a JV Co,” said MRL.

According to MRL, losses by the joint venture would be split 50-50 between MRL and CCCC, but if the operation was profitable, MRL would take 80 per cent of the profits.

The 640-km ECRL project connects Putrajaya and Selangor in the west coast, running through Negri Sembilan and Pahang to Kelantan and Terengganu in the east coast.

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