Johor Bahru MP Akmal Nasir has urged Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to postpone projects to build three halls in his Pagoh constituency and nearby areas, saying the RM35 million should be prioritised for Covid-19 matters.
In a statement, Akmal questioned the need for such an expensive project at a difficult time like this when there were already four big halls in Pagoh, along with other community halls nearby.
“The prime minister has instructed for the project to be implemented immediately. Can’t he also immediately cancel the project, or at least postpone it for now?” he said.
“Just as the prime minister has suspended Parliament through a declaration of an emergency, supposedly to battle Covid-19, what’s wrong with postponing the construction of these halls as well?”
He suggested that the funds be used to increase Covid-19 swab tests, expanding the capacity of quarantine centres and bringing in more medical facilities to assist frontliners.
Yesterday, a letter went viral on social media claiming that an allocation of RM35 million had been approved by Muhyiddin to build a hall in Pagoh.
The letter, dated Jan 11 and addressed to the director-general of the Public Works Department (JKR), was from the Implementation Coordination Unit in the Prime Minister’s Department, and stated that Muhyiddin wished for the project to be implemented as soon as possible.
The Prime Minister’s Office then responded by saying that it was for the construction of three public halls, namely the Gersik hall in Tangkak at a cost of RM13 million, the Bukit Pasir community hall in Muar worth RM16.66 million, and the Bukit Kepong community centre in Muar worth RM5.77 million.
Akmal said the prime minister’s response did not answer the government’s priority in allocating funds, adding that RM16 million to build a single hall was still exorbitant.
He also said the project was unlikely to have been awarded through an open tender, as he had instructed JKR to start work on the site by March 1. – FMT