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  • China wants Malaysia to pay $20 billion

  • For a new rail line

  • But Malaysia is fighting back.

  • Welcome back to China Uncensored.

  • I'm Chris Chappell.

  • Malaysia.

  • A country that's truly...what's the word for it?

  • "The soul of Asia,

  • the essence of Asia,

  • it's truly Asia

  • That's it, truly Asia.

  • Talk about a songwriter reaching for the low-hanging fruit.

  • Not so for Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

  • He's reaching for the sky.

  • Now 93 years old,

  • Mahathir holds the Guinness World Record

  • for being the world's oldest Prime Minister.

  • And that's a record he's likely to hold onto for a while.

  • At least until our planet

  • is run by an immortal artificial intelligence.

  • On the plus side, I'll have also been upgraded by then.

  • But the real reason to keep an eye on this 93-year-old

  • is that he's just dodged a bullet...

  • at least when it comes to China's Belt and Road.

  • The Belt and Road Initiative is the massive infrastructure plan

  • to build trade corridors between China and the rest of the world.

  • It's also known as One Belt,

  • One Reason to Not Go into Debt.

  • That's because it has been a convenient way

  • for the Chinese regime to saddle some small countries

  • with debt they can't pay back.

  • So in exchange,

  • these countries have to sign over

  • valuable resources or assets to China.

  • The poster child for this is of course, Sri Lanka.

  • When you can go from sun-kissed

  • to mountain mists in only four hours,

  • that's so Sri Lanka.

  • When dolphins and whales swim around you all year,

  • so you can visit them at any time?

  • That's so Sri Lanka.

  • And when you take a giant Chinese loan

  • to build a deep water port,

  • can't pay the loan back,

  • and then have to give the port to China on a 99-year lease,

  • that's so Sri Lanka.

  • The list of countries at risk

  • of falling into China's debt trap is long.

  • It includes places like Djibouti

  • Kenya

  • Pakistan.

  • And it looked like Malaysia, too

  • But then came Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

  • After taking office in 2018,

  • he right away suspended 22 billion dollars worth of

  • China-backed infrastructure deals.

  • He also scrapped three China-backed pipeline projects

  • worth 3 billion dollars.

  • And there was also a railway project

  • called the East Coast Rail Link.

  • It was supposed to be built by

  • China Communications Construction Company

  • for a price tag of nearly 20 billion dollars.

  • He scrapped that, too.

  • But he still wanted some of the infrastructure.

  • Just not at that price.

  • So he re-negotiated the price of the East Coast Rail Link

  • from $20 billion to down to only about $11 billion.

  • Because theeconomics of the original deal

  • did not make financial sense.”

  • As Mahathir's office said in a statement,

  • This reduction will surely benefit Malaysia

  • and lighten the burden on the country's financial position.”

  • Yeah, it's a *bit* lighter of a burden now.

  • Like $9 billion dollars lighter.

  • I wonder if the same negotiating strategy

  • can be used for student loans.

  • Anyway, given Malaysia's crushing debt load,

  • any breathing space is a sigh of relief.

  • A year ago,

  • everyone thought that Malaysia was around

  • $170 billion in debt.

  • But when Mahathir took office last year,

  • he discovered, nope!,

  • Malaysia was actually $250 billion in debt.

  • How did this happen?

  • A few months ago,

  • I spoke with investigative journalist Clare Rewcastle Brown

  • who exposed the previous government's

  • massive 1MDB corruption scandal.

  • She says the previous prime Minister, Najib Razak,

  • needed money to cover his tracks,

  • after he'd allegedly stolen around 700 million dollars.

  • And there's not a lot of guys you can go

  • to help you fill a 700 million dollar hole.

  • Except China.

  • What happened, because of Najib's financial difficulty,

  • he nearly dropped his rich and independent country

  • like a ripe plum into the lap of China

  • because he needed someone to secretly

  • bail out his debts on 1MDB.”

  • The Chinese Communist Party:

  • The guy you call when you need to bury a body.

  • Or 700 million dollars.

  • Najib is now accused of wide-scale corruption

  • that includes skimming billions of dollars

  • off China-backed projects.

  • Najib went to trial last week in the first of

  • what is expected to be multiple trials.

  • He faces four counts of corruption.

  • Each one could land him in jail for up to 20 years.

  • And if he lives to see the end of it,

  • he could win the Guiness World Record

  • for the world's oldest former Prime Minister in jail.

  • Anyway, after Mahathir Mohamad

  • won the election against Najib in 2018,

  • one of his first tasks was to be to pull Malaysia

  • back from the brink of a Chinese debt trap.

  • "He's made it clear that he intends to revise

  • some of these deals that were made to bail out Najib.

  • And Malaysia has been looking

  • very critically and openly and frankly

  • at the corrupt nature of these deals

  • and challenging Chinato back off

  • given these deals were clearly laced with corruption."

  • It turns out, Najib had made a deal with China

  • that Malaysia would overpay for the East Coast Rail Link,

  • and then China would secretly top up the cash Najib stole.

  • Um, allegedly.

  • So Mahathir has begun to resolve this issue

  • by renegotiating the price of the project with China.

  • But Mahathir is doing more than that.

  • He's also taking his

  • beware of bad Chinese dealsshow on the road.

  • On a recent visit to the Philippines,

  • he warned President Rodrigo Duterte to beware of China's debt trap

  • sayingthe Philippines should

  • 'regulate or limit influences from China.'”

  • But Mahathir is also making some people nervous.

  • That is, some people connected to the Chinese Communist Party.

  • Wang Yiwei, a professor at Renmin University of China in Beijing,

  • worries that "it sets a bad example for other projects,

  • that China can just lower the costs."

  • He says it could encourage other countries

  • to push China to cut prices on debt trap projects.

  • That would be terrible!

  • It would completely defeat the purpose of a debt trap.

  • And Malaysia's new attitude is even pushing

  • the Chinese regime to re-evaluate its own actions.

  • With pressures mounting at home and abroad,

  • Beijing has started to adjust its approach

  • to the Belt and Road Initiative

  • trimming spending on projects and toning down what it says.”

  • So the Communist Party has really got to tone it down.

  • Or at least seem like they're toning it down.

  • So what do you think?

  • Could this be the beginning of the end for

  • some of the more worst Belt and Road debt traps?

  • Leave your comments below.

  • And before I go,

  • now's the time for me to answer a question from one of you

  • who supports China Uncensored

  • through the crowdfunding website Patreon.

  • Steve Wilson asks,

  • Chris, with your education in music composition,

  • do you have anything to do with the music

  • that's played with China Uncensored videos?”

  • Good question, Steve.

  • I do have a Masters degree from NYU

  • in Classical Music Composition.

  • But the main thing that's done for me is...

  • get me to move to New York,

  • where I ended up having the opportunity

  • to create China Uncensored.

  • I didn't personally create the awesome Chinese music

  • that we use in the episodes.

  • They were created by a friend of mine,

  • who's a professional music composer and audio engineer.

  • There are in fact 9 unique tracks

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  • You're listening to one of them right now.

  • And for all of you who contribute $5 or more

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  • So while I didn't directly create

  • the music using my Masters Degree,

  • I do have the knowledge to appreciate

  • all the work that went into them.

  • Thanks for your question, Steve.

  • And thank all of you who support China Uncensored.

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  • Once again, I'm Chris Chappell.

  • Thanks for watching China Uncensored.

China wants Malaysia to pay $20 billion

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Malaysia Made China Give Discount on Belt and Road | Mahathir Mohamad vs CCP | China Uncensored

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    zijun su posted on 2021/06/30
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