Mahathir said Monday that Malaysia may have to pay a penalty and will discuss the matter with Singapore.
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's latest set of sweeping policy reforms announced on Wednesday has put neighbouring Singapore in the spotlight, as the recently elected leader confirmed the cancellation of a highly anticipated high-speed rail project between the two countries and revealed a surprise plan to build an island near the city state's territorial waters.
"The Kuala Lumpur-Singapore HSR is not inspired by the decision made by one country only", he said. "We have to talk with Singapore about dropping that project", he said.
"We will wait for official communication from Malaysia".
Mahathir, who was responding to a question about the ICJ challenge, said Malaysia had "already built structures" on Middle Rock.
In his latest press conference on May 30, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced that the government has chose to set up "Tabung Harapan Malaysia" (THM) or "Malaysian Fund of Hope" as a way for Malaysians to donate, for those who want to voluntarily ease the nation's burden.
The 1MDB fund accumulated billions in debts and is being investigated in the USA and several other countries.
"We have borrowed too much money".
"As far as the leaders from China and the Chinese are concerned, we have made it clear that we are going to look at all these contracts again because they are very costly for the government and will incur huge debts, which we can not pay", he was reported as saying.
Najib said the decision to undertake the project was based on a detailed study, carried out for years, by both Malaysia and Singapore that proved to be advantageous to both countries socially and economically.
A computer generated image of the planned high-speed station at Seremban, Malaysia.
Its president, Prof Dr Mohamed Rehan Karim, said the government's decision is apt given the country's high debt level.
"In reality, an infrastructure project such as the HSR brings about plenty of returns in the form of property value, economic growth, technology transfer, the import of expertise from Singapore, as well as tourism", said Najib. "If the country is to avoid bankruptcy, we must learn how to manage our big debts and one of the ways is to do away with projects that are not beneficial to us", he said. Minister of Finance, Lim Guan Eng ends the statement by expressing their honest appreciation and gratitude to all Malaysians for all their support and concern.