Najib pulling wools over rakyats’ eyes again with RM30billion.

By Dr.Dzul

As if the slew of mega projects announced during the Budgett 2011 and earlier in the the 10-Malaysia Plan (10-MP) weren’t sufficient to incite excitement, Prime Minister Najib deemed it fit to further cajole the rakyat that he had secured RM30 billions from nine projects during the ETP Road Map 2 days ago.

He also said 53 of 131 Entry Point Projects (EPPs), representing a total investment value of US$97 billion (RM290bilion) – or 45% of the total investment targeted – was already in “various stages of engagement”. Really?

He said his administration would be announcing more confirmed investments in the coming months. He later elaborated on the nine projects necessary as ‘quick wins’ as to allay fears that ETP was not stimulating enough response from the private sector.

Najib brazenly has to again make a mention of the RM26 billions KLIFD project, a Joint-Venture mega project by the 1-MD-Mubadalah collaborating with 1Malaysia Development Bhd at a 34-hectare site near Jalan Tun Razak. That 1-MD-Mubadala displaces the many local champions doesn’t concern him. That  it was awarded again through direct negotaition least bothered him and is indeed deplorable.  Najib off-repeated lip-service for open tender is surely empty rhetorics.  

The construction industry is admittedly not rocket science that would warrant foreign entity and worse still, market is abuzz that RM3billion of development fund would be raised from local sukuk market. Is that a quality FDI anyway? Debatable at best. The rest of the 8 projects are as follows:

(i)                  Mydin, a major local wholesale and retail player, will invest in 14 new branches over the next three years in an enterprise worth RM1 billion.

(ii)                St Regis, an international six-star hospitality brand, will be developing a 208-room hotel and a 160-unit residential complex on a 2.2-acre site in KL Sentral in an investment worth RM1.2 billion.

(iii)               Schlumberger, a renowned oilfield services player, recently set up its Eastern Hemisphere Global Finances Serviced Hub in Bandar Utama as part of the Greater KL project to encourage 100 multinational companies to relocate its operations in KL in 10 years’ time.

(iv)              Malaysia Airport Holdings Bhd has awarded a 25-year concession to WCT Bhd to build and operate an integrated complex at KLIA2. The investment is worth RM486 million and will comprise a transport hub for taxis and buses, one block of retail stores and car parks.

(v)                Premium Renewable Energy will build five bio-oil plants over the next five years with the first costing RM124 million. The plant will be located in Lahad Datu, Sabah.

(vi)              The Ministry of Higher Education has chosen Asia e-University to be the “gateway university” for international education for distance and online learning in a project that is estimated to generate a gross national income of RM100 million.

(vii)           Johor Premium Outlets, to be located at Genting Indahputra, Johor, will offer a wide selection of designer fashions at substantial savings off regular retail prices in the first marketing strategy of its kind in the region. This involves an investment of RM150 million.

The total 9 projects said to be RM30 billions actually totalled up to only RM28.36 billions. Without the KLIFD, which is not even rated as Pemandu’s 5-Star (being close to implementation), if we are to refer to the ETP Open Day ( by DS Idris Jala, you in fact have only RM2.36 billion.

To be more specific, the Mydin, St Regis and the Schlumberger’s investment span over 3 to 10 years.

More importantly many would like to ask how these projects provide for a pursuit of a high income economy through a higher value-added enterprises and knowledge-intensive industries. Mydin’s hypermarkets, for one, only allow for more retail and wholesale outlets but not higher value-added products!

St Regis is has now become a condomonium development, albeit a high-end one. Schlumberger’s projects may not even get a 2-star rating as yet going by Idris Jala’s Pemandu-benchmarking.

It is extremely worrying if we were to be reminded that the target for private investment as set by Najib, the driving force of the ETP, 10-MP and the as well the Budget 2011, stood at RM115 billions and an increase of 12% every year until 2020.

Could the Prime Minister be transparent and willing enough to accept the fact that attracting FDIs and even investment from the local investors is no small feat? Is Najib willing to admit why we were failing very miserably of late?