Thursday, June 12, 2014

UiTM ‘piratisation’ to hand Umno men RM8.6b, claims Rafizi

By Syed Jaymal ZahiidJune 12, 2014UPDATED: June 12, 2014 02:59 pm

KUALA LUMPUR, June 12 ― Putrajaya intentionally privatised the construction of six state-owned Universiti Teknology Mara (UiTM) campuses nationwide to allow Umno-linked firms to rake in RM8.6 billion of public funds, PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli alleged today.
The Pandan MP said the move meant the government must pay RM375 million in rent annually for 23 years, according to concession agreements revealed in a parliamentary reply by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on April 10 this year.
Rafizi today alleged that the six concessionaires have ties to Umno, the leading party in the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition.
“These concessionaires are all linked to Umno. Some are Umno leaders. As if it is not enough that they have gotten rich (from other contracts) now they are getting billions from UiTM,” he told reporters in Parliament lobby here.
“This is the continuation of the 'piratisation' of public funds by the Umno-Barisan Nasional government,” he added.
The Pandan MP noted that the government could have saved more than RM6 billion if it had built the campuses instead of leasing it to the concessionaires.
“In the case of the six campuses, the rakyat will have to bear the cost burden five times more expensive (the cost of building the campuses is only RM1.8 billion but the rakyat have to pay RM8.6 billion to the concessionaires)”.
Each campus is estimated to cost between RM280 and RM315 million, according to the same reply given by Najib on April 10.
Rafizi also noted that the total amount of rent paid to the concessions will eat up a whopping 11 per cent of the total amount allocated to UiTM by the federal government.
Rafizi said he will reveal the names of those behind the concessionaires next week.
“They are Umno leaders or popular cronies that hold positions in Umno,” he said.
UiTM is owned by MARA, a Bumiputera fund set up to boost the economic standings of Malaysia's ethnic majority as part of the race-based affirmative action New Economic Policy conceived in the 60s.
Until recently, more progressive Malay opposition leaders have suggested a revamp in MARA's direction ― that the fund be used to help the poor regardless of race including the opening up of UiTM to poor non-Malay applicants.
The idea met fierce opposition from Umno's hardliners who labeled the proposition as an attempt to undermine Malay special privileges.
Rafizi said today the revelation that Umno cronies were profiting MARA projects were proof that the Malay party was “never interested in safeguarding Malay interest but is using it to enrich their cronies instead”.

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