NKRA : a closer look at the big numbers by a simple man

By Lee Wee Tak

The Prime Minister has announced 8 new investment projects worth RM1.4 billion under six National Key Economics Areas (NKRA) covering agriculture, education, aerospace, wholesale, retail and manufacturing.

On first impression, the big zany numbers look impressive so let’s take a closer look.


 ETP: PM announces RM1.43bil in investments




(source: extracted from page 2  of the Sun morning edition 8th September)


Palm oil

The first item, palm oil, where it was reported in the Sun as “development of downstream sector of palm oil industry, including a world-class research and development centre:”

In short, someone is going to invest RM706million into down-stream, i.e. post plantation activities of palm oil industry, like manufacturing, distribution, branding and marketing.

The big words actually did not explain exactly what will cost RM706 million and how exactly additional GNI of RM1.15 billion can be created – is it via new products and new markets, what and how the multiplier effect will generate the stipulated GNI Impact  etc? A big number must have many components and from the Sun report, I do not see a single clear cut explanation.

R & D itself is exploratory in nature and estimating accurately revenue arising from successful R & D activities that can be translated into viable commercial production and sales is extremely tricky (without even factoring in competition from other products such as soya bean and peanut oil) so I would seriously question how the “expected gross national income” of RM1.15 billion is a creditable statement of optimism and of course, vote pulling.

Besides, the GNI projection covered a period up to 8 years away. I would be interested to see what the BN administration have forecasted for the next 8 years, details of which, voters can assess if the forecast are valid assumptions, or just big hyped up numbers which basis can be challenged.


Merdik TV

Why would the BN administration want to burn another RM400million (equivalent to the original budget of the new Istana Negara)  and add another 650 civil servants onto an already bloated civil service, and over the next 3 years, to buy 1,410 TV sets, employing an average 2.17 staff per TV to broadcast health messages? At R400million a pop, each TV on average will cost us RM238,687.94.

We already have RTM which is free-to-air  and certainly have bigger reach than 1,410 TV sets of  RM238K each  in 168 locations. Just produce more programmes and broadcast through its controlled media (and replacing the air time set aside  for propaganda with proper rakyat-friendly heath programmes). We tax payers certainly can make better use with RM400 million, like patching up the horrendous roads in Wangsa Maju or build 8,000 units of affordable homes at RM50,000 a unit for example.

 And we have not examine which company is going to supply the TV set via direct negotiation or otherwise.


Strand Aerospace Malaysia Sdn Bhd

Of all the projects, this sound most promising – 6,000 Malaysian engineers to be trained in a joint venture company set up by Malaysian entrepreneurs and a British aerospace expert Anthony Bedborough, reach GNI impact of RM3.5 billion by 2020.

However, I wonder if this is a private sector initiative or it is a BN administration driven effort? Is SAM Sdn Bhd a GLC hence the Prime Minister can claim “lagi satu projek Barisan Nasional” or is it just a private sector investment?

One consistent trend in Najib administration is the confusion whether an investment project is really a BN administration project or a private sector going on anyway. For example, Najib presented investments by oil giant Shell as if it’s BN administration thingy. 


At the same time, Najib said Shell Malaysia will also be investing RM1.5 billion in multiple projects to upgrade, expand or build facilities in upstream, midstream and downstream activities across Malaysia.


While he is so good at playing the role of Shell Malaysia’s press officer, how come, for consistency sake, he did not announce the multi million investment in Kuantan by Lynas which was granted a 12 year pioneer status (as disclosed by Lynas themselves) when the maximum tax exemption period for promoted activities of national strategic importance is only 10 years?

Or the multi million contract awarded to Ahmad Zaki,Kejuruteraan  Kenari and Maya Maju consisting of RM400 million original allocation and R400 million overrun?


The new Istana Negara in Jalan Duta will now cost more than RM800 million, and not RM400 million as announced by the government in 2006.

Deputy Works Minister Datuk Yong Khoon Seng said the cost includes the construction of a new RM130 million flyover leading to the palace in Jalan Duta, and upgrading works on Jalan Changkat Semantan costing RM32.5 million.

He added that the flyover project and the road upgrading works were awarded to Ahmad Zaki Resources and Kejuruteraan Kenari respectively through direct negotiation.

The Istana Negara complex itself will cost around RM650 million and the project was awarded to Maya Maju, also through direct negotiation. The palace will be completed by February next year.


As for the projected GNI of RM3.5 billion anticipated in 9 years time, how much revenue the SAM Sdn Bhd need to earn to hit the target?

Since it averages about RM2 to RM4 million ringgit a year (reading the report below), SAM Sdn Bhd has a big gap to catch, making me wonder if they can actually hit the required number and I would be most interested to know of their business plan to accomplish this.