The Great Debate’s political impact – one week later

(Also published on Malaysiakini

One week after the debate between MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek and DAP secretary-general and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, after the passions have cooled down and the arguments digested, what is the likely political impact, if any, moving forward?

What most Malaysians may not have realised is the one cardinal rule associated with political debates – “Don’t Screw Up”. Most of the members of audience would not remember the substantive points made by politicians on salient issues during these debates but almost all of them would remember if any political gaffes were made.

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ETP: Part 4 – Private enterprises are rejecting the ETP

(Also published on The Malaysian Insider)

ETP: Part 4 – Private enterprises are rejecting the ETP
Dr. Ong Kian Ming & Teh Chi-Chang

The very basis of the ETP is in jeopardy. A key foundation of the ETP is that the private sector is to lead the massive RM1.4 trillion of investments needed to catapult Malaysia to high-income status by 2020. But the 35 per cent private sector share of ETP investments to date is far below target. The RM114 billion investments by government and GLCs are nearly double the RM62 billion invested by the private sector.

PEMANDU obfuscating again

PEMANDU responds that private sector investments are closer to the targeted 60 per cent share if big-ticket public sector projects like the MRT are excluded. This is intellectually dishonest. The ETP Roadmap Report includes such projects in its desired investment mix. There is no justification to exclude them. It is akin to giving a recipe for a rich chocolate cake and then saying it is not fattening if you exclude the calories from the butter.

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ETP: Part 3 (iii) — Two dud projects

(Also published on The Malaysian Insider)

Doubtful EPPs; doubtful achievements and due diligence

Some PEMANDU “achievements” are doubtful. The Karambunai Integrated Resort and Tanjong Agas Oil and Gas Park do not appear viable and their private sector developers are financially weak. These two EPPs alone account for 7 per cent of the total investments trumpeted by PEMANDU during the first year of the ETP. Their inclusion weakens the credibility of the headline investments, national income and job accretion that PEMANDU claims to have achieved.

Karambunai IR — expensive and crowded? The investment cost for this project in rural Sabah soared from RM3 billion to nearly RM10 billion in the six short months from its first mention before the ETP was launched to its final incarnation as an EPP. At this price, we estimate it needs 2.8 million visitors per year to break even — more than all the passengers arriving at Kota Kinabalu airport!

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