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Anwar says big projects sign of BN’s imminent fall

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 18 – Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim attacked the Najib administration for going down the mega projects track to boost the economy, saying  BN’s obsession with “grandeur” marks its imminent fall.

“The government’s excitement to display grandeur, that will be the sign of the fall of their empire. We will pray for this,” the Opposition Leader (picture) told the august House in his debate speech on Budget 2011 in Parliament this morning.

Opposition lawmakers in the House thumped on their tables in rapturous response.
“This rush for symbolic mega projects, supposedly to portray pride for the country, is being repeated now under the present Prime Minister.

“Here I would like to question the wisdom of Permodalan Nasional Bhd’s order from the government to involve itself in mega projects,” he said.

Anwar was referring to the 100-storey Warisan Merdeka skyscraper proposal by the government which is expected to cost over RM5 billion for construction.

When completed, it is to be the tallest building in Malaysia, surpassing even the Petronas Twin Towers. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had unveiled the government’s plans for the structure when tabling Budget 2011 last Friday, along with a slew of other mega-projects set to stimulate the country’s economy.

“The construction cost of the Twin Towers already took about RM6 billion. This is not inclusive of the land cost of RM900 million, KLCC park RM200 million, the Petronas Philharmonic hall RM500 million and the district cooling gas plant RM300 million.

“The total cost was more than RM10 billion and even then, it is not inclusive of the maintenance cost of RM250 million annually. Is this a pride of the nation? Do we need another 100-story tower in Malaysia?” he questioned.

The RM5 billion proposed for Warisan Merdeka project, Anwar pointed out, could go for the construction of at least 1,667 more schools, at a cost of RM3 million each.

“But no, that is not important. What is more important is this show of grandiose,” he jibed.
Anwar said the projects under Budget 2011 did not give consideration to the frame of the country’s current economic standing and the need to lower the budget deficit and improve competitiveness.

“It is a project to show how great we are through mammoth projects,” he continued.

He pointed out that among all countries in Asean, Malaysia was the only one to record a “negative inflow”.
Malaysia’s foreign direct investment, he said, dropped 81 per cent from RM23.47 billion in 2008 to RM4.43 billion in 2009, in comparison with Thailand which recorded an FDI of RM19.01 billion and Indonesia with RM19.08 billion.

“This is the lowest FDI in 20 years, except in 2001 when we recorded an FDI of RM1.54 billion,” he said.
This failure, he pointed out, showed a desperate need for change in the management of the country’s economy from the aspect of good governance and improving its competitive edge.

Anwar pointed out that lessons from failed projects of the past, specifically during the era of former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, had proven that the mega-project playbook was not successful.
He raised the government’s proposed RM40 billion Kuala Lumpur MRT project, questioning if it would go the way of the Star-Putra LRT project, which saw losses of nearly RM6 billion.

“In 1999, the government was forced to inject RM600 million to Star through the Employees Provident Fund (EPF). The government also allowed both Star and Putra to continue operations although they were ridden with mismanagement problems.

“In 2001, the government confirmed it would take over Putra and Star by issuing bonds worth RM8 billion. Since March that year, both companies faced losses of RM5.5 billion,” he reminded.
Despite this, Anwar pointed out, the government had given a green light for the MRT project to Gamuda-MMC to manage without an open bidding process.

“Our worry now is – will the MRT project result in more leakages and corrupt practices like before and bring benefits to cronies and hefty losses to the people?” he said

Anwar also took a stab at the Najib administration for appointing the government’s strategic development company 1 Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to develop the multi-billion ringgit Kuala Lumpur International Financial District together with Abu Dhabi’s investment firm Mubadala Development Company.
He revealed that according to checks with the Companies Commission of Malaysia on October 14 this year, 1MDB did not even have a registered business address and had not yet appointed an auditor.

“Despite this, its CEO reported on October 12 that 1MDB had recorded profits of RM425 million, coincidentally just days before the Prime Minister tabled the budget,” Anwar pointed out, adding that the company’s ability to handle the RM26 billion mega-project was suspect.

1 comment:

  1. Atukoi, masih banyak lagi kosong di Menara Berkembar Petronas, sudah mau bina bangunan 100 tingkat berharga RM5 bilion? GILA punya PM...


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