Malaysia awards major rail project to China
Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia announced Wednesday it would award a 2.3-billion-dollar rail project to China, as leaders of both nations pledged to increase bilateral trade.
Government officials earlier this year estimated the tracks, which are to connect the southern city of Johor Baru with Gemas in the neighbouring state of Negeri Sembilan, would cover 250 kilometres and cost more than 8 billion ringgit (2.3 billion dollars).
Apart from the rail project, Malaysia also committed to grant Chinese companies contracts to construct one of the country's biggest dams and an aluminium smelting plant, Prime Minister Najib Razak said after a meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao in the administrative capital of Putrajaya.
'Both nations agree that there is enormous hope for our bilateral relations and we are agreed that we should work together to increase bilateral trade and investment,' Najib said.
China became Malaysia's biggest trading partner this year, surpassing Singapore, the United States and Japan. ' ... We hope that trade and investment will increase with China,' Najib said.
From January to September, bilateral trade reached 89 billion ringgit (25.5 billion dollars), accounting for nearly 13 per cent of Malaysia's total trade during that period.
Hu, who arrived in Kuala Lumpur Tuesday with a 140-member delegation, is the first Chinese leader to visit Malaysia in 15 years.
'China and Malaysia's relationship is embracing a new era of all-around development. We will work with Malaysia to usher in an even brighter future,' Hu said.
Both countries also signed a memorandum of understanding to deepen cooperation between their banking regulatory authorities.
Hu is scheduled to leave for Singapore later Wednesday, where he is due to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.