Malaysia tries crowdfunding to plug ballooning debts

Malaysia tries crowdfunding to plug ballooning debts

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has made it a priority to cut Malaysia's debts and liabilities - estimated at 1 trillion ringgit ($250.8 billion) or 80 percent of GDP - since he mounted a surprise win over scandal-plagued Najib Razak in a May 9 general election.

Najib said today's economy is more sophisticated than ever, and as such he would be disappointed if the prime minister (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) fails to see the projects returns beyond mere ticket sales. "Our position will be based on Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Bai Tian, and the Chinese embassy's speeches", said a Chinese official.

The move comes after a private fundraising initiative 'Please Help Malaysia!' received more than $3,500 of donations on website GoGetFunding in a campaign to help the Southeast Asian country reduce debt.

Mahathir says the 350-kilometer (218-mile) rail project is too costly and that Malaysia "will make no money at all from this operation".

"As a long-term honest friend and important partner to Malaysia, China is looking forward to working with the new Malaysian government to advance China-Malaysia pragmatic cooperation in the spirit of equality and mutual trust, and to secure mutual benefits and win-win results".

At the press conference where he announced that Malaysia is pulling out of the multibillion-dollar project, Dr Mahathir was asked whether the decision has been communicated to Singapore.

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In her fundraising campaign Nik Shazarina Bakti, 27, said Malaysians in the past had given jewellery, money and valuables to help raise funds in seeking independence from Britain.

"We were confident of our case, and the correctness of the ICJ decision", Vivian said.

A spokesperson added: "We look forward to further developing the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail under the new Malaysian Government as an opportunity to accelerate inclusive growth and maximise socio-economic benefits for the seven cities along the [high-speed rail] corridor as well as improve living standards for all Malaysians".

Mahathir has reopened an investigation into 1MDB following his election victory.

"If we don't do it, not only we have to incur abortive cost in our own border, we also may have to provide compensation to Singapore", said company CEO Mohd Nur Ismal Mohamed Kamal. Najib, who denies any wrongdoing, and his wife have been barred from leaving the country. In the interview with The Edge, he claimed that his predecessor and former protegé "didn't care" about the government's debt ceiling when he signed on the project.

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