Media Statement for immediate release
1. In another display of zombie-nomics, DAP YB Tony Pua had attacked the East Cost Rail Link project stating that the project will not be profitable after 8 years and will not achieve its freight target.
2. It was only in 2012, before GE13, that Tony Pua had also made similar repeated accusations claiming that KLIA2’s expansion was over-ambitious and that the passenger target will not be met.
3. However, KLIA2 is now a success story with frequent complaints that it is now congested.
4. He had also made similar accusations in the past that Maybank’s purchase of Indonesian bank Bank International Indonesia (BII) for a reported RM8.25 billion is over-priced and that Maybank will lose billions.
5. The reality however is that Maybank Indonesia is now a major contributor BII having contributed profits of RM650.38mil for 2016 alone and RM434mil for the first 9 months of this year to the group.
4. Tony now makes accusations that his children and grandchildren will bear the burden of ECRL;s debt as he believes that ECRL will not make money to pay back its soft loan to China.
5. Major transport-oriented development projects along the ECRL ines such as the Malaysia-China Industrial Park in Kuantan is already blossoming having attracting RM18.1 billion in domestic and foreign investments.
6. Alliance Steel (M) Sdn Bhd, the industrial park’s current largest investor, is on track to start operations by the end of this year and will create 3,500 employment opportunities while producing 3.5 million tons of steel products per year – contributing to the projected 60 million tons of freight for ECRL.
Much of this steel products can be transported on ECRL to users along the line and eventually to Port Klang.
7. Direct freight and passenger revenues from ECRL alone is not just the only story. There is always an element of investment and subsidy in major transport infrastructure projects as the government is expected to recover its investments from knock-on effects such as the 1.5% increase in GDP from those states where we can expect govt collections growth from increased GST, Corporate and personal taxes as well as appreciation in land value.
Intangible but equally important goals such as boosting the development of the East Coast States and narrowing the economic development gap with the west coast are also important.
8. The narrow mind of the Pakatan politicians and their zombie-nomics do not see these indirect revenue sources from infrastructure projects such as these.
9. This is the same case for projects such as the RM27 billion Pan Borneo Highway is toll-free and there will not be any direct revenue attached to it.
10. The same goes for the DAP Penang Government’s RM7.5 billion Pan Island Link Highway project of 19.5km that they say will be debt-free – that will enable faster travel for those going to the Penang Airport.
This highway will cost RM385mil per km as compared to the RM79mil per km for ECRL.
11. The PIL is expected to complement existing roads on the island and benefiting the few hundred thousands people on the Island – as compared to the 5 millions across 4 states that ECRL will benefit for an area that has never been served by such a rail link before.
12. Since the Penang Govt has gone on record to say that they will be borrowing from China to fund this PIL project and that the PIL will not have tolls, can Tony Pua tell us what is expected revenue and when will PIL achieve‘break even from the operational aspect’?
13. The rakyat has the right to know the details because it will be our children and grandchildren who will have to bear the reckless debt burden of the current Penang state government.
Barisan Nasional Strategic Communications.