PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli today cautioned Finance Minister II Johari Abdul Ghani against tarnishing his own reputation in defending Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak on the total cost of the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) project.
Based on his Facebook poll on the issue, Rafizi said, only 10 percent of respondents agreed with Najib that the total cost of the MRT is only RM21 billion; 21 percent agreed with his own estimate that it would exceed RM100 billion; while the remaining 69 per cent were unsure.
“From their reaction, it is clear that the people out there are more confident with my calculation than with Najib or Johari’s.
“So I advise Johari (photo) not to be the victim to defend Najib, like what happened to Ahmad Maslan before. If he is not careful, his own reputation in the people’s eye can become like Ahmad Maslan’s,” Rafizi said in a statement today.
In response to Rafizi’s claim on the ballooning cost of the project, Johari yesterday accused Rafizi, the PKR lawmaker for Pandan, of not knowing how to count.
Rafizi said he did not take the remark to heart but cautioned that Johari risked tarnishing his own reputation further by remaining silent over pressing questions.
Among others, Rafizi cited his own unanswered questions, raised during the last Dewan Rakyat session, on to the government’s commitment to service debts inherited from 1MDB’s US$3 billion bonds that were initially intended to fund the development of the Tun Razak Exchange project.
“This week, he (Johari) also confirmed that the federal government had fully taken over the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) project from 1MDB.
“It looks like he has yet to understand that the people’s level of awareness is much higher now than it was in the 1980s, with the Internet and social media,” Rafizi said.
Johari announced that the TRX project would have a gross development value of RM40 billion.
However, Rafizi questioned the government’s source of funds to develop the project as it would be required to raise some RM20 billion in capital.
“Where would the federal government get this capital from, if not by incurring more debts?” he argued, adding that the situation has become more worrying, based on estimates that total debts from the TRX project and MRT project would reach RM159 billion.
Rafizi then repeated his challenge to Najib to sue him for claiming that the MRT project's overall cost would exceed RM100 billion.
“If it is true that I do not know how to count and that my claims are false, it would be best for Johari to advice Najib to sue me as soon as possible, because the seven days that I had given would end on Dec 26, which is in three more days,” he said.
Rafizi had on Tuesday challenged Najib to sue him or apologise to the rakyat for claiming that the government had saved RM2 billion on the MRT project, from the initial targeted cost of RM23 billion.- Mkini