Johor PKR rep: Failed HSR project was due to greed, PN govt must apologise

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Johor PKR deputy chief Jimmy Puah Wee Tse wants the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government to apologise publicly for the termination of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project.

He accused those in power of being greedy, leading to its cancellation.

“Despite the reluctance of the Malaysian government to disclose the compensation amount and reasons for the cancellation, now that it has been revealed by the Singapore government that one of the main reasons is the insistence by the Malaysian government to remove the jointly held asset company that would operate through an open and transparent international tender,” he said in a statement yesterday.

The former state executive council member noted Singapore Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung’s reported remarks in its Parliament two days ago that the Malaysian government had tried to do away with the assets company that was to be appointed through a bilateral public tender to manage the HSR.

Puah said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed has since confirmed Ong’s assertion.

“Of course, this would mean it was the intention of the PN government that some part of the projects would be directly negotiated to their cronies.

Ben Tan

“This incident bears all the hallmarks of ‘Bolehland’ — lack of transparency and reward to cronies, the same reason the people of Malaysia rose in the last general election to vote out a corrupt government only to see the same pattern re-emerged after a backdoor political coup,” said Puah.

He also called on Mustapa to apologise to all Malaysians for not prioritising public needs.

Puah, who is also the Bukit Batu assemblyman, expressed his dismay that the HSR project has been scuttled due to the personal greed of those in power.

“It could have been an economic catalyst not only to Johor but also Malaysia.

“Not only have we let go of a missed opportunity, but more alarmingly, we stand to pay a huge compensation amount to Singapore, which would be no less than RM820 million at today’s exchange rate,” he said.

He added that the money could have been better spent to purchase Covid-19 vaccines or giving aid to financially impoverished families during the pandemic.

The HSR project was initiated when Datuk Seri Najib Razak was prime minister and suspended by the PH administration that won the 2018 general election.

Mustapa had previously argued that the joint asset company would lead to costs outside what the government could afford.

Najib claimed on Monday that he had pushed for the joint asset management company involving both firms to avoid any possible abuse or irregularity. – MMO

Related reports:

Jan 5, DAP: MACC must probe aborted HSR deal

Jan 5, Govt expects cancelled HSR compensation not to hit S$270m

Jan 5, Come clean on scrapping of HSR, Tok Mat tells govt

Jan 5, Najib: PN wanted to dole out HSR jobs directly, cut Singapore out of selection process

Jan 4, Calls for government to reveal compensation cost of cancelled HSR project increase

Jan 2, Najib: PN govt wants to pay “crony” private company annually after HSR contract termination