RAFIZI WORSE THAN A ‘HANTU’: ON THE DEFENSIVE OVER EXORBITANTLY-PRICED MRT, BN CALLS PANDAN MP A ‘DEVIL’
1. We express our thanks to the team of Alyaa Azhar, Aidila Razak and Nigel Aw at MalaysiaKini for doing a fact check on the recent exchanges between PKR MP YB Rafizi Ramli and ourselves.
2. We encourage MalaysiaKini and other media organizations to continue with such fact-checking as the opposition has been getting away with lies after lies in their attempt to instigate the rakyat for Pakatan’s own benefits. In particular, we request that MalaysiaKini also does a fact check for the recent arguments between DAP Secretary General Lim Guan Eng and Gerakan Secretary General Liang Teck Meng on whether Penang’s accumulated surplus was due to sale of state land and assets and to cover its 3 fold increase in administrative spending from 2008 to 2015.
3. MalaysiaKini’s fact checks had confirmed much of our rebuttals against YB Rafizi’s continued lies in his various press conferences and statements. Among these are:
a) YB Rafizi incorrectly said the cost of MRT1 SBK is RM21 billion for 21km when it was for 51km – thus claiming incorrectly that the cost was RM1 billion per km. This implies that YB Rafizi had overestimated the cost of MRT1 SBK by RM30 billion.
b) YB Rafizi had tried to pass on a bare tunnel project in Barcelona is an MRT project in an attempt to compare with the complete MRT project in an attempt to say Malaysia’s MRT project is more expensive than the projects in Spain.
c) YB Rafizi had used information from an unverified and anonymous WordPress blog called “Pedestrian Observation”, which has now been proven incorrect. To make it worse, YB Rafizi had selectively used the cheapest two examples out of 25 examples of MRT projects in an attempt to accuse the government of overpaying.
The only part where MalaysiaKini had disputed in our past statement was when they disagreed with the cost cited by us for the Seoul MRT line. However, MalaysiaKini’s cost estimation is also different from what YB Rafizi cited. So we will let this slide.
4. Again, we thank MalaysiaKini for its fact check to confirm what we had pointed out. It is both appalling and unbelievable that a supposed Member of Parliament would resort to such deceit in order to incite hatred towards the government. We note that YB Rafizi Ramli has neither apologized nor admitted wrong-doing on the above. We do not expect him to be honest enough to do so. He had repeatedly called us as “hantu” but MalaysiaKini now shows that the esteemed YB is worse than “hantu”.
5. It is little wonder that YB Rafizi was involved in losing 5 court cases in a row – many of which involves his slandering. On top of these 5 cases which includes his court-confirmed lies on the NFC project, he still faces ongoing defamation suits from LTAT, Tabung Haji and our Prime Minister.
6. Despite being exposed numerous times, YB Rafizi continues to attack the cost of the MRT project which he says will be a burden on the Rakyat. This exposes the short-term thinking of YB Rafizi and Pakatan.
7. What he does not say is that the cost of NOT doing the MRT project and the various impressive improvements to the Public Transportation projects in recent years would be much greater.
8. According to the World Bank’s 2015 Malaysia’s Economic Monitor report:
Commuters wasted between 270 and 500 million man-hours in the Greater KL jams last year. Cars used a possible 1.2 billion litres of fuel idling in traffic; At current prices, this would mean RM2.52 billion of the Rakyat’s money burned away every year. Lost hours and fuel for each person in Greater KL came to at least RM3,100 each year, more than the monthly local average salary (RM2,795); and Total cost of traffic in Greater KL is estimated at 1.1% to 2.2% of GDP in 2014. In 2016 terms, this would mean a yearly loss to Malaysia of RM13 billion to RM26 billion.
9. In a recent survey Frost & Sullivan found that 41% of Malaysians ranked traffic jams as their top frustration. Car transport costs were also found to be 10% of all monthly household expenses – which would be substantially reduced if people took public transport.
10. This does not include the very substantial environmental cost due to petrol-burning cars and health cost to Malaysians arising from increased stress levels while stuck in traffic jams.
11. Despite the high investment cost of public transportation, the government will be able to indirectly recoup back their investments over the long-term from taxes on the improved productivity, increased property values and increased economic activity in the areas served by Public Transport. In addition, the government will also reap bigger savings from the reduced environmental and health-care costs.
12. Efficient public transport projects such as the MRT are investments that last for decades that will put money back into the pockets of Malaysians from time-savings, reduced transport and car ownership costs. Malaysians also benefit from increased well-being and reduced stress.
13. We are appalled that YB Rafizi Ramli has such myopic and unstrategic thinking and continue to make this an issue while completely ignoring that the benefits to both the government and the people far outweigh the cost – especially since it has been proven that Malaysia’s MRT project costs are not over-priced.
14. The government has earned praises for delivering such big public transportation improvements within time and budget since 2010. It is only selfish and short-term thinking politicians who cannot see the big picture – and worse, continues to use outrageously big lies and deceit to attack this.
Barisan Nasional Strategic Communications Team, Putrajaya.