The 94-year-old Malaysian leader felt honored to be one of the 37 world leaders to attend the grand event, saying that he understood better the intention behind the idea of BRI as it is "a world-wide project involving not only Southeast Asia and China, but also the Middle East, Africa and even Latin America."
In the interview, Mahathir also clarified rumors on the two Chinese-backed projects (namely East Coast Rail Link and Bandar Malaysia) which were recently revived by in Malaysia after ages of negotiations, stressing that the problem is about "money" rather than doubts surrounding the BRI as others speculated.
"We have to reduce the cost. Even if the project is with any other country, we would have to adopt the same strategy to reduce borrowings from other countries. It's not linked to the BRI," said Mahathir. Meanwhile, he confirmed that China has reduced the costs of the projects to fit with Malaysia's financial capacity.
He remained optimistic regarding future cooperation with China, as he said China was open and accommodating in the negotiation process. "We welcome Chinese investment in Malaysia as much as we welcome all FDI, and we expect that more products from China would be available in Malaysia," the Malaysian leader said.