Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has sought to clarify a letter that went viral on social media claiming that an allocation of RM35 million had been approved to build a hall in his Pagoh parliamentary constituency.
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.
The letter stated it was the prime minister’s wish that the project be implemented as soon as possible and JKR had been directed to start work on the site by March 1.
On the day that ‘PM8′ declared a State of Emergency, allegedly to stave off an election ‘during Covid’ (having hours before lost his majority with two more defections from his government) what were his priorities and those of his aides?
We now know that on that very day, far from concerning itself with the people’s suffering over Covid 19, the ‘Implementation Unit’ of the PM’s Department was urgently writing a letter to the Public Works Department ordering it to ‘jump to’ as quick as possible, as per an instruction by the PM himself just three days before, to build RM35 million worth of ‘community hall’ in his own constituency in Johor.
Today the PM has admitted the leak was true, protesting that in fact the bloated sum related to three halls in his region rather than just one. That’s OK then?
It has been observed that at circa RM12m per hall these inappropriate projects in the midst of crisis still work out at least three times as expensive as other such facilities recorded in Malaysia.
Meanwhile, the cash for these fast track projects in the PM’s own area has clearly been obtained from the bloated ‘Covid’ budget based on record borrowings, which was just rammed through Parliament on the demand of the Agong on behalf of his personally appointed choice of PM.
Despite raising the extra billions in the name of tackling the pandemic after all, the vast bulk of the budget has actually been dedicated to unspecified ‘development projects’ of which this leaked example was clearly one. An over-priced, secretive construction in the PM’s own backyard.
As yet the tender for this contract has not even been announced, although construction is commanded to begin in six weeks time – so, the world wonders, who secretly got this contract and how much ‘commission’ is set to be diverted into other pockets?
Indeed, onlookers will be forgiven for wondering if actual construction was ever seriously planned to go ahead once the project had been allocated and the money with it?
After all who needs these buildings? Does a community hall paid for in the name of Covid actually help tackle the disease? And would not the RM35 million not have better been spent on medical facilities or indeed providing more financial support to desperate families stricken by the ongoing economic crisis?
It is the Prime Minister’s own reference to an upcoming election that appears to be the best clue to his determination to embark on such a blatantly needless waste of money at this desperate time.
Following the loss of his majority the State of Emergency was declared primarily to stave off his removal from office, which he misleadingly claimed would necessitate an election, which he misleadingly declared would not be safe because of Covid. In fact, he is clearly preparing for such an election sooner rather than later.
Pouring money raised in the name of the pandemic into his own constituency in such a manner reeks of blatant vote buying, and the ‘leakage’ potential from such a bloated contract is plain to see.
Indeed how much of this ‘Covid’ budget, which has plunged the country into unprecedented financial debt, is really being spent on vaccines, medical care, stimulus and alleviating hardship as opposed to preparing for a big Bersatu bonanza to buy up votes in a good old-fashioned Malay money politics election? It is anyone’s guess!
Most are guessing that it is by far the largest part, setting aside what has gone straight into politicians pockets and their cronies, of course.