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Sakmongkol ak 47

Sunday, 20 September 2020

Wee's ECRL-Hard Questions.

1. In a democracy the principles of (a) direct democracy and (b) consent of the governed, gives the locus standi to the citizen to ask questions from the government. Politics is too important to leave it to the half past six politicians to do the asking for you.

2. So we appear before the court of the government with some questions. We expect the government to answer honestly and truthfully. Although that's too far fetched.

3. In particular, we want to ask certain facts about Malaysia's Great Iron Horse project otherwise known as ECRL. It has raised some issues since the PN government announced its reverting to the original alignment.

4. The present government seems to hide certain facts from the public. Its true then,that facts do threaten those who invest in fraud.

5. It may not be as severe and pernicious as fraud, but is the government involved in an elaborate but uninvincible plan to mislead the public?

6. Heres what we mean. The original alignment was negotiated by the BN government then at 65 billion.

7. It was renogatiated once by the PH government through Tun Daim Zainuddin at RM 44 billion saving us RM 21.5 billion.

8. That involved a new alignment and some lines unnecessary yet, to be deferred.

9. Now the PN government is reverting to the original alignment at RM 50 billion saving Malaysia, not RM 21.5billiion but RM15. 5 billion.

10. From RM 65.5 billion to RM 44 billion and now RM50 billion we saved RM15. 5 billion. What accounts for this situation RM15. 5 billion?

11. The RM15. 5 billion can either be (a) deliberate overpricing or (b) cost of naked corruption.

12. In either case it ultimately means corruption. If so who are the would be benefiary/beneficiaries of the would be RM15. 5 billion extra?

13. Also important, is whether CCCC or the Chinese government needed to pay any monies to the powers that be then, to secure the ECRL project?

14. The government needs to show some testicular resolve to get to the bottom of these issues. This is a bloody high profile case.

15. Spending an extra RM6 billion(RM50 billion from RM 44 billion) what do we get? And what does original alignment mean?

16. Does it include (a) the lines going further North into Kelantan that's costing us RM1. 28 billion more and (b) includes also the remedial works to be carried out by appeal CCCC? Please enlighten us.

17. On top of these, are CCCC and the Chinese government agreeable to this new deal of RM50 billion? Has CCCC agreed to reversion to the original alignment at RM50 billion?

18. Is spending an additional RM6 billion now prudent? We are plagued with the covid pandemic and a shrinking economy as a result of a reduction in oil revenues. Its not the time to practise Keynesian ecomics or the C+I+G thingy.

19. Can anyone from the government, the Transport Minister or the bean counter from MOF expand on the spillover effects not already thought of previously ?

20. In the team constituted by Tun Daim, I saw 2 professional economists -KS Jomo and Sungaran who must have argued vociferously for cost reduction for reason of ecomic prudence. We now want to know their views on spending an additional RM6 billion. In addition I also saw Zeti Akhtar herself a monetary economist and a former central banker. What's her view on this?

21. Can anyone from the current government explain how spending RM50 billion instead of RM44 billion and reverting to the original alignment be beneficial to the economy? Is this the celebrated pump priming?

22. It is incredulous that the current PN government has approved the reversion of the original ECRL without first getting the approval of CCCC or the Chinese government.

23. Has the government approached the main contractor CCCC, whether the original alignment can be had at RM50 billion if at all.

24. According to media reports, the Transport minister is now only meeting the main contractor. How sure then is he that the original alignment can be had at RM50 Billion?

25. If the final value is yet to be discussed, then the government has made a unilateral decision and an arm twisting proposal. That's akin to premature ejaculation thats satisfying only to the Transport Minister.

26. Having said the cost publicly, can the government now blackmail the Chinese into accepting the RM50 billion deals?

27. You over push your canoe you can pull it back. But you over say your words, you rue the consequences.

28. Pushing the unilateral cost bullheadedly can strain relationship with China. It can only lead to a sour aftertaste in the relationship.

29. Malaysia can be seen as a whimsical business party. Given to moodswings Malaysia is not a reliable trading partner. Malaysia risks being seen as that.

30. If the original Alignment of the ECRL can be had for RM50 billion rather than RM65. 5 billion, then it only confirms that the whole project is overpriced . Is the government willing to investigate this?

31. An attempt to fleece the government of RM15.5 billion was made. Will the government keep quiet over this?

32. If the government keeps quiet over this matter, then it becomes an effeminate government instead of displaying the manly character so required in dealing with matters of corruption.

33. To make matters worse the government critics, the media, the opposition figures are surprisingly muted over this matter.

34. They thus failed to provide the pressure factor. When there is no opposition to evil, it multiplies. And as Disraeli said-no government can be long secure without a formidable oopposition.

35. The media in particular, was duplicitous over this matter. When the PH government was re-negotiating the matter with China, it went over the renegotiating process with a fine tooth comb. They(members of the media) were literally camping outside Tun Daim's office. The same intensity is now absent. Are they cowed by the PN government?

36. Can the Transport Minister confirm the benefits obtained by the Supplementary Agreement(SA) signed during the PH goverment will remain?

37. These benefits include the allowance of 40 percent of the works on ECRL to be given to local companies. It also includes the management of ECRL on a 50:50 basis for the first 20 years and the promise of TOD projects(to local companies) along the rail network.

38. The benefits were contained in the SA signed between the PH government and CCCC in 2019. Now the PN government wants to sign another SA incorporating we hope, what it wants.

39. The upshot of these arguments is the possibility that CCCC is under no obligation to incorporate the benefits we listed under point 37 in a new SA.

40. Will the PN government be forthright on this matter to the public? Or will the contents of the new SA be shut in under the infamous OSA?

41. There is a possibility that all will be lost especially if the PN government renegotiates with a lackadaisical attitude. As long as there is a possibility, we are in danger!

42. Environmental crusaders take note. Under the PH- SA, the Klang Gates quartz range is to remain intact. Under the original alignment the range will be disturbed. Massive tunnelling will take place. Will the new SA include this tunnelling? That was in the original alignment.

43. So if the environmental crusaders keep silent, they do so at their own peril.

44. Under the PH alignment, the ECRL links up with Kajang-Bangi interchange and Putrajaya interchange .

45. That would provide ECRL linkages with existing rail networks serving the Northen and Southern States.

46. For example, through Bangi-Kajang interchange,ECRL would have links with existing rail networks to the North and South. Through Putrajaya, it would be linked to KLIA. I would refrain from inundating readers with the various existing rail services. (KTM Commuter, ETS, MRTs etc) .

47. When Putrajaya Sentral interchange is completed, ECRL would have links to KLIA 1 and 2.

48. Through the Mentakab station ECRL woud be linked to exiting networks carrying people and cargo.

49. Hence,via Kajang-Bangi, Putrajaya, Putrajaya Sentral, Mentakab-ECRL would have links to the Northern,Southern and Central regions. ECRL would have complete linkages to the whole country for both commuters and cargo.

50. Can the Tranport Minister assures that the complete linkages as above, will be retained with the original alignment?

51. Even worse if going back to the original alignment means the interchanges at Bangi-Kajang Putrajaya and Putrajaya Sentral are cancelled. It means the connectivity under the PH alignment is lost!

52. If the original alignment results in the cancellation of the interchanges, then the reasoning that the original alignment increases connectivity is not supported by the facts.

53. The issues surrounding the Serendah Bypass are perplexing . If ECRL were alive the Bypass represents a frolic of its own. It becomes part of ECRL as if its an after thought. Might as well call it ECRL plus. Is it necessary?

54. It becomes part of ECRL on the justification that it helps solve the traffic congestion in the KL region. It handles people and cargo coming in from the North.

55. If that is the main reason, might as well build a similar facility for people and cargo coming in from the South.
ECRL shouldn't be used as an excuse to carry excess bagage like the Serendah Bypass.

56. The fact is congestion in the KL region will exist regardless whether the Serendah Bypass is built or not. The Bypass is therefore superfluous and an unnecessary wastage.

57. The congestion in KL region is an MOT and KTM problem. The Minister should be thinking on how to solve this. But not by heaping it on ECRL. By doing so the Minister is not doing his job. ECRL is used to actually hide away his inadequacies.

58. What is the passenger -cargo mix of ECRL? Which payload is better? If the cargo part is a better revenue earner, then it pays to increase the cargo portion in the mix. Then it becomes more profitable and gives a better economic feasibility.

59. The original alignment of ECRL does not mean better connectivity and better economic feasibility just because the bloody Minister says so. He needs to back it up with stone-cold facts. otherwise shut the f**k up!

60. We need to ask this:-does the old alignment mean cheaper cost for traffic using the HSR to Singapore?

61. We must not lose sight of our overriding objective. That is to build ECRL at optimum price and not to spend with wanton abandon.

62. Because the Minister of Transport is also the MCA president is that the reason we hear of MCA towkays buying up much land in Bentong and Mentakab?

63. How very true is the saying-loose lips sink ships. When the ship is sinking the MCA rats will swim away.


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