An agreement has been reached by Malaysia and China for the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project to resume following its suspension last year, The Sun Daily quotes a report by Sin Chew Daily.

Initially priced at RM66 billion, the ECRL will have its costs cut by more than RM10 billion. The report added that both countries had come to a resolution for the re-negotiated project that includes new commercial elements which will bring added benefits to local entrepreneurs and people.

An agreement will be signed ahead of prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s visit to China at the end of this month, the publication was told by its source. The chairman of the Council of Eminent Persons, Tun Daim Zainuddin, Malaysia’s representative in the negotiations, will travel to Beijing to sign the agreement.

Mahathir has been scheduled to visit China – at the invitation of Chinese premier Xi Jinping – to attend the second Belt and Road initiative summit, and the Malaysian prime minister is expected to address the summit and emphasise the country’s support for the Belt and Road initiative, the report said, adding that environmental concerns are the main reason for changes to the ECRL route.

The ECRL project was first approved in October 2016 under the then-prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, and was initially set to be handled by China Communication Constructions Company (CCCC), with financing by Export-Import Bank of China (Exim Bank of China).