Stop being petty, support viable projects

STOP playing politics and support projects that will benefit Malaysians, said Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM).

In a statement today, its central committee member Sharan Raj said he was perplexed that the Federal Government withdrew its RM2.04 bil guarantee for loan application by Penang to finance its RM9.5 bil light rail transit (LRT).

“But the Federal Government has no qualms in reviving the more costly Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed rail Project (HSR).

“Clearly, the Perikatan Nasional Government is politicking to hurt people living in Opposition-held areas,” he said.

Yesterday, The Edge reported Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz as saying that the Government would not grant a government guarantee for RM2.04 bil loan application by Penang to partly finance its RM9.5 bil LRT project.

He said the decision was in line with the revised revenue and income projections for the country, as well as the Government’s focus to restore the economy ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Should the loan go through, it will increase the Federal Government’s commitment on operational and development expenditure, as well as other off-budget projects borne by the Government such as the MRT Line 1 and 2 (RM71 bil), LRT3 (RM17.7 bil), the Pan Borneo Sarawak Highway (RM13 bil) and the East Coast Rail Link or ECRL (RM48.85 bil),” Tengku Zafrul was reported saying.

Unimpressed by the minister’s defense, Sharan said the move would force the Penang LRT project to be shelved or undertake Penang South reclamation (PSR) funds the LRT.

“The western seaboard of Penang Island has the highest population density in Malaysian. Rail based transit is necessary to overcome traffic congestion and over-crowded streets from daily commute in Penang,” he said.

Sharan added that the sum requested by the Government was nothing compared to the massive amount spent by Putrajaya on fuel subsidies alone.

“Putrajaya may spend nearly RM50 bil in fuel subsidy by end of 2030, once fuel price rebounds from late-2021 onwards.

“The RM2 bil guarantee is nothing compare to long-term financial savings from fuel subsidies alone.

“The financial benefits from reduced traffic congestion, travel time, productivity, petrol import, environmental degradations, accidents rate and health problems is multiple times higher,” he said. – Nov 28, 2020

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