Terengganu’s education hub in shambles as MB opted for zoos, FTZs, says PAS

Muzliza Mustafa, TMI

Terengganu Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Said is wasting public funds to build more zoos and free tax zones instead of completing the RM360 million education hub initiated by predecessor Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, PAS said today.

PAS’s Kuala Terengganu MP Datuk Raja Kamarul Bahrin Shah Raja Ahmad said the new ventures underlined the Barisan Nasional (BN) leader’s inability to put the people’s interest first.

“He’d rather spend state government money to build zoos in Kemaman and free tax zone in Tasik Kenyir. Even BN members are questioning the viability of such facility at the remote area.

“Why can’t he spend the money to complete the education hub in Tembila here,” Raja Kamarul Bahrin told a press conference in the run-in to the Kuala Besut by-election on July 24.

The education hub is on a 280 hectare land in the seaside village of Tembila, some 15km from Besut district’s administrative capital, Kampung Raja.

The hub, named Taman Ilmu (Knowledge Park), was to be completed in 2008 but has been left in a deplorable state of neglect.

The Knowledge Park was meant to be an education hub where six institutions of higher learning led by the flagship Universiti Darul Iman (UDM), as it was known then, would share facilities in areas divided according to “parcels”, following the naming convention previously adopted in the federal administrative capital of Putrajaya.

Since then, UDM has been renamed Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA).

“He told us in the state assembly that the project is a burden to the state but in my opinion, it’s a matter of prioritisation. The zoos and the free tax zone are the things we can live without for the time being,” said Raja Kamarul Bahrin.

“This thing would not happen if Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh were in charge. He would want the project to be completed.”

He added that the education hub was given less priority after Ahmad Said became the Mentri Besar.

“The contractors involved in the projects eventually had to stop after failure in getting payment for their work. The state government also agreed to terminate their agreements,” said the first-term lawmaker.

He claimed this thing happened because of what happened between Ahmad Said and Idris Jusoh.

“They are not admitting it but it was what happened,” said Raja Kamarul Bahrin.

He said many are wondering if the project was stopped because it was Idris’s brainchild or because the contractors were his friends.