Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Do we need another skyscraper?

Finance Minister cum Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has tabled the 2011 budget. It amounts to RM212 billion which is the highest ever in Malaysian history.

Unfortunately with the huge sum of money to be spent, it does not benefit the people at large. Does Najib have the determination to reform the country? The budget is obviously a General-Election-Budget. Our Foreign Direct Investment is dwindling, yet the budget was not FDI friendly.

With the plan to build a 100-storey tower, Warisan Merdeka, which will cost RM5 billion, Najib may be trying to convey a message that our economy is booming and we have the capability to spend on mega projects. Pretense will not save the country but honesty does. The fact is, Malaysia is billions of Ringgit in debt and where are we going to get the money? I am afraid that the government has overly strained the EPF which was constantly being persuaded into investment partnership.

During those days when the former PM Dr. Mahathir wanted to venture into building the highest building in the world, there was much objection from the general public but to no avail. I am afraid that we could only do little thing to voice out again should BN win the next GE as Najib has justified himself over his action.

The Twin-Towers (KLCC) has nothing to do with me who am a not-high-profile person. Likewise there are plenty of people in the street like me who do not benefit from skyscrapers. They are for the rich and mighty! There is still plenty of office space available in KLCC after so many years of existence. So it will be heart-breaking to see RM5 billion from the treasury going down into the drain over another white elephant project.

It was the pride of Dr. Mahathir who wanted to put his fame known to the world. Malaysia is just a speck of dust in the world map. Our tourism did not flourish because we had the highest towers. Singapore has nothing more attractive than we but yet it surpassed us in the number of tourists each year. One skyscraper was already a mistake, let alone another one?

It is good news to hear that highways would freeze toll hikes for the next five years. But the bad news is that the government needs to fork out RM5 billion for compensation! Whose money? The tax-payers’! Why was a contract signed in favor of the highway company instead of the people? Cronyism has eroded Malaysia!

Najib has wanted the talented citizens who are working overseas come back to serve the country, but his budget has no plans to attract them. Until and unless our government is sincere in practicing meritocracy, his idea will only be remained as an idea forever!

Millions of Ringgit will also be spent in hiring 375 English teachers from England and Australia. How effective this could be? 375 teachers are likened to a drop of water in a 50-meter swimming pool! Our standard of English has dropped tremendously lately. It is embarrassing to tell that most of the students graduated from government universities cannot speak proper English.

English is a very important language. One of the reasons why our universities are declining in world ranking is the poor command of English, since most of the library books are in English. For long benefits’ sake, I would suggest that the government bring back the English-medium schools system.

I hope that Najib will spend the country’s treasury wisely. It must be targeting on creating opportunities for people to play a role in nation building, irrespective of their race or status.

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