Malaysia rail infrastructure projects hit the buffers

Spending vast sums on infrastructure projects that countries arguably cannot afford and may not need is a risky business, as the actions of Malaysia’s new government shows.

Malaysia's new government has lost little time fulfilling election pledges by canning a major rail project and casting a pall over others, sending shockwaves through the local construction industry and reminding investors of the risks attached to infrastructure investing.

In a setback for China, which is spearheading a major infrastructure drive across the region with its Belt and Road Initiative, Prime Minister Mohamad Mahathir this week cancelled the high-speed rail HSR link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

The reason Overly high costs and poor value for money, which at a time when total government debt amounts to more than RM1 trillion $250 billion,...

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