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Thursday, January 31, 2019

Yoursay: Harapan gov't risks getting derailed by ECRL


YOURSAY | 'The cabinet issuing a gag order on its own members is downright embarrassing.'
Francis Benali: The cabinet's imposition of the gag order on the status of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) negotiations between Putrajaya and Beijing, after the contradictory statements from Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng and Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali, is just downright embarrassing.
If politics is truly a game of perception, Pakatan Harapan is coming off as a bunch of bungling clowns, which will only be more fodder for former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak, who is slowly becoming a one-man opposition.
Clever Voter: To be an effective government, Harapan needs a strong leader who is authoritative. More often than not, the need to be inclusive has led to unnecessary interference, and worse, a proliferation of unauthorised spokespersons.
Any multibillion-ringgit projects, especially those approved by the previous regime, require great scrutiny and investigation.
This non-starter project is an obvious example. Apart from appeasing the PAS stronghold states, the RM81 billion for the ECRL could be better spent on other more deserving places, including the crowded Penang or the North-South fast train.
For quite long now, the chief beneficiaries of big projects are infrastructure developers or contractors. Any other desired outcomes are secondary, which explains why we have many white elephants.
Rather than putting a ban on cabinet members from speaking up, the government has to be practical. Spending billions to win votes will not help.
Anonymous 673761437718749: I fail to understand what is so difficult here. If negotiations are still in progress, just say so. Why the need to give so many contradictory statements?
It seems like Harapan ministers are trying to show off how muscular and powerful they are.
Malaysian-United: So Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s ‘clarification’ is that two ministers, Azmin and Lim, who issued entirely contradictory statements on the fate of the ECRL, are somehow both right and they were misreported by the press?
Just get to the point. Are you saying the project has been cancelled but you do not want to announce it yet? If so, why not just say that?
Stop talking in riddles. We have no time for this nonsense.
Drngsc: How cleverly Mahathir tries to cover up his intention to have these two ministers fight. Was that your grand design all along?
Malaysians have wised up to Mahathir’s tricks. If he does not give due respect to the reform agenda, especially the Harapan manifesto, Semenyih will be lost, and in four years, the 15th general election too will be lost.
Perhaps, without Mahathir at the helm, even Azmin and Lim can work alongside one another, without anyone trying to divide them.
Malaysian United: So what Mahathir meant is that the cabinet agreed to cancel the project but has not found a diplomatic way to deal with China.
And Azmin jumped the gun. Now even Mahathir is asking them to zip it.
The Wakandan: Please scrap this project. We cannot afford it. It is overkill for too small a population on the East Coast.
This will ultimately lead to the government having to subsidise its management, using resources we can hardly afford at the present moment. Replace it with something more practical and affordable.
Unspin: China is said to be complicit in helping Najib and his cohorts steal from our country in return for projects. They should meet us halfway in order to resolve this white elephant project.
One way is to give us a soft loan – not unlike the Samurai bond – for Malaysian taxpayers to repay our loans to China over a longer period at a more reasonable interest rate.
Abd Karim: China is smart. Their modus operandi is so simple. First, give out loans to carry out infrastructure programmes in foreign lands. When the economies of these countries decline, they take over these strategic infrastructures.
Without going to war, these countries are effectively controlled by Beijing. On a broader scale, all the countries in the region are indirectly controlled in this way.
The wealth of these nations is then brought back to China to take care of their masses and to improve their quality of life. That's how it works. Only gullible leaders would fall for this trick.
Anonymous_4056: Putrajaya should just give all the details of the project to China, including the results of the environmental impact assessment and feasibility study, and ask them how such a huge investment that risks – according to the prime minister – impoverishing the country can be justified.
There is no way the mammoth RM81 billion cost of the project is feasible. Economist and former Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) member Jomo Kwame Sundaram has got a valid point - the aim of the ECRL is definitely not development, but a scheme to pay the 1MDB debts.
Mo Saladin: The question is, Prof Jomo, how long are we going to only concentrate on development in urban centres? Eventually, we would still need connective infrastructure to spur growth and balance the economic inequalities in the rural areas.
That said, I can understand that it is imperative not to be saddled by an unsustainable debt burden brought about by Najib's appalling foresight, to say the least.
But equally important, we must not do a disservice to ties with China, should we allow the ECRL reversal debate to be hijacked by conjecture and not solid evidence on China's complicity in the inflated costs.
Anonymous_3b6c1f0c: Do we even need such infrastructure being built in Kelantan and Terengganu, whose denizens are unconcerned about corruption and have no problem voting in favour of a party that declared itself as a friend to the corrupt?
Why should the West Coast taxpayers’ money be used to fund such a project? Let them fork it out themselves. - Mkini

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