Jomo calls ECRL project a “hoax”

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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 27 – Professor Jomo Kwame Sundaram, who was until recently part of the Council of Eminent Persons advising the governmentm has revealed that the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project linking the east and west coasts of Malaysia as a “hoax”, Malaysiakini reported.

He said it was not even considered part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

“The project would not be able to pay for itself even if its development expenses are written off,” he told the audience at a talk entitled “The Way Forward for Malaysia” organised by the Oxbridge Society of Malaysia.

Jomo was a panellist at the talk together with Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin.

Last July, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng was reported to have said that the cost of the project will eventually reach RM81 billion.

Lim said this compares with the previous administration’s estimate for RM55 billion, whereas the actual project is worth no more than RM30 billion.

Projects like ECRL, abused by BN for political financing

Jomo said projects such as the ECRL and two gas pipeline projects, all of which have since been cancelled, are the work of the previous Barisan Nasional administration that had abused a “very decadent” political system.

“It is important to recognise that we have a system of political financing which has been so abused that we cannot get ourselves out of this, unless we develop a legitimate, accountable, system of political financing.

“So, I would put the whole system of political financing at the top of the list of political priorities that needs to be addressed by the current government,” he said, according to Mkini.

All political parties must tackle corruption together

He also called for all political parties in Malaysia to come to an agreement on what needs to be done to tackle corruption.

“Political financing is only a part of the problem. I have a great deal of concern with addressing other sources of corruption, and this of course is very, very important and necessary to address.

“But we have a very decadent and corrupt economic system as well as a political system. In other words, we have been thoroughly compromised,” he was quoted as saying by Mkini.

Look beyond Dr Mahathir and Anwar, says Khairy

Meanwhile, Khairy said the people need to focus on beyond both Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, if the country truly wants to plan for the future.

“The country has many talented politicians and the emergence of this new generation of politicians will signal the change of politics in Malaysia.

“Mahathir is a great man but he is 93 years old. I think he will serve as long as his health permits. Anwar needs to become prime minister, otherwise we would never hear the end of it. And we cannot move on.

“I think Anwar will become the next prime minister but I think we need to focus on Malaysia post-Tun Mahathir and post-Anwar,” the former youth and sports minister was quoted as saying by Malay Mail.

According to the report, Khairy insisted that he would not quit Umno, saying he will challenge for the party presidency again in 2021, “if the party still exists by then”.

– NMT