Thursday, April 21, 2011

ETP: RM9.6b plucked from thin air?

Is the Najib administration so desperate to showcase the "success" of the ETP that it has now taken to announcing multi-billion ringgit worth of projects which are nothing more than hot air as at this point of time?

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak celebrated his 5th "update" by announcing a total of RM11.16 billion worth of projects and claiming that the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) is right on track.

The Government must be congratulated if it is really able to attract such an amount of projects within a short period of time, especially if it is due to the ETP.

However, upon closer scrutiny of the projects announced, it becomes clear that the numbers quoted provided a skewed and misleading picture of ETP "developments".

Firstly, of the 12 “entry-point projects” (EPPs) in this update, 5 have been previously announced making them a repetition of projects which have already been disclosed.

Secondly, of the RM11.2 billion worth of projects announced, the Karambunai Integrated Resort City project alone constituted RM9.6 billion or a whopping 86% of all the value of all the projects added together!

Thirdly and perhaps most importantly, the value for the Karambunai project appears to be plucked out from thin air for it appears as if nothing has yet been finalised which will justify any announcement to the public!

The Karambunai resort project is led by gaming tycoon Tan Sri Chen Lip Keong’s group of companies on a 1,100ha piece of land, owned by Karambunai Corp Bhd and Petaling Tin Berhad. Tan Sri Chen has substantial shareholdings in both these companies, and is the president of both.

As if on cue after the Prime Minister made his ETP announcement, Petaling Tin Bhd announced on Bursa Malaysia yesterday that it “has not signed any agreement with any parties pertaining to the resort project and there are no corporate developments that warrant future disclosures to the stock exchange at this juncture.”

In other words, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s boast of the RM11.16 billion EPP projects, including the RM9.6 billion Karambunai Integrated Resort Project is nothing more than a “trial balloon” inflated with hot air!

In fact, even some of the smaller EPPs failed the scrutiny test, such as the RM50 million “1Malaysia email project”, where it now appears that the company which has been awarded the project, Tricubes Bhd, which isn’t only loss making as at this point of time, but is at a risk of being delisted from the ACE market after being issued a GN3 status by Bursa Malaysia.

The project awarded by the Government aims to provide an email account to all Malaysians above the age of 18 is supposed to be privately financed. However, the company which is facing serious financial difficulty has not disclosed how it will even be able to finance the project on its own.

It is disappointing that the Prime Minister, in an attempt to make his administration and the ETP look good to the man-on-the-street, has chosen to boast of projects with dubious economic value, like the “1Malaysia email project” as well as incorporating huge projects with their multi-billion ringgit valuations being plucked out from thin air.

Malaysians want to see real success and real tangible benefits from government policies and projects, and not just listen empty pronouncements made to make the Barisan Nasional government look good.
Post a Comment