Malaysia Seizes Funds Of Chinese Contractor
Malaysia has seized ringgit 1bn ($243mn) held in a bank account belonging to China Petroleum Pipeline Engineering (CPP), according to a July 13 report by the Singapore-based Straits Times.
The move comes a year after Malaysian authorities scrapped two pipeline projects worth $2.4bn that CPP had been hired to implement, following a widespread investigation into corruption. According to the Straits Times, Malaysia’s government ordered banking multinational HSBC to transfer CPP’s funds to Suria Strategic Energy Resources (SSER), wholly owned by the finance ministry, this month.
The Malaysian government of former prime minister Najib Razak approved plans in 2016 to build a 600-km petroleum product pipeline along the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia, and a 662-km gas pipeline on Borneo Island. However, both projects were suspended in July 2018 by the new prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, who won a surprise victory in elections earlier that year.
Mohamad’s government has focused on rooting out corruption and reducing Malaysia’s reliance on China. A probe into the two pipeline ventures by his administration indicated that project funds had been stolen.