Mahathir says Chinese contractor will help run new rail link

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad gestures during a press conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia, Monday, April 15, 2019. Malaysia's government dec

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad gestures during a press conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia, Monday, April 15, 2019. Malaysia's government dec

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia, Monday, April 15, 2019. Malaysia's government decid

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia, Monday, April 15, 2019. Malaysia's government decid

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad arrives for a press conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia, Monday, April 15, 2019. Malaysia's government decided

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad arrives for a press conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia, Monday, April 15, 2019. Malaysia's government decided

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad smiles during a press conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia, Monday, April 15, 2019. Malaysia's government decid

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad smiles during a press conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia, Monday, April 15, 2019. Malaysia's government decid

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad says a Chinese company building a rail link across peninsula Malaysia will jointly help to manage, operate and maintain the network that will help reduce the country's financial burden.

The East Coast Rail Link was suspended after Mahathir's alliance swept into power last May. The project was revived last week after the contractor, China Communications Construction Company Ltd., agreed to cut the cost by one-third.

The rail link connecting Malaysia's west coast to eastern rural states is part of China's Belt and Road infrastructure initiative.

Mahathir said Monday the government chose to renegotiate the deal rather than pay compensation.

Mahathir said CCCC will form a joint venture with Malaysia Rail Link to operate and maintain the network. It's slated for completion by the end of 2026.