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Abdullah should set his face against mega-projects and massive expenditures which lack transparency like the proposed RM490 million Sports Training Centre outside London when he announces details of implementation of Ninth Malaysia Plan on Tuesday

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Petaling Jaya
, Sunday) On his return from a minor surgery and holiday in Perth  last evening, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced that he would announce details of projects and implementation mechanisms of the Ninth Malaysia Plan on Tuesday.


Abdullah should set his face against the proposed RM490 million Sports Training Centre outside London when he announces details of implementation of Ninth Malaysia Plan on Tuesday to demonstrate in clear and unequivocal terms that as Prime Minister, he would not countenance mega-projects or massive public expenditures which lack accountability and transparency. 


The RM490 million Sports Training Centre in Brickendonbury has become a test-case whether the Abdullah administration can also be guilty of indulging in mega-projects without any accountability and transparency, using its brute parliamentary majority to impose the Executive will like mega-projects in the Mahathir era, such as the RM1.1 billion crooked half-bridge.


It is pathetic to see top government leaders making confusing and conflicting statements on the London  RM490 million Sports Training Centre, indicating that probably only a handful of persons know what is really going on about the project.


Those who answer on behalf of the government whether in Parliament or outside may not know what they are talking about.


Deputy Youth and Sports Minister, Datuk Liow Tiong Lai is one example. He told Parliament that “no allocation had been made for the development of the sports training centre in Brickendonbury” but this had been contradicted by the Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Azalina  Othman Said who said that 14 squash players and 10 archers had already been sent to Brickendonbury, implying that the scheme had been launched.


The interview by the National  Sports Council director-general Datuk Dr. Ramlan Abdul Aziz in the New Sunday Times has thrown a little more light, but not enough to clear up the “darkness”, surrounding the project raising in the process more questions.


Ramlan, who headed a task force to turn part of the Tun Abdul Razak Research Centre (TARRC) in Brickendonbury into a Sports Training Centre,  disclosed that on average the Sports Ministry spend about RM3 million on overseas competitions.


He said he “would be keen to see if we could transfer some of these cost savings and divert them to the development of the centre”.


This is indeed  a most extraordinary proposal - as RM490 million would be equivalent to the expenditures for 163 years on the basis of RM3 million a year on overseas competitions.


Ramlan acknowledged that the TARRC, which was a Roman settlement 2,000 years ago, is a protected heritage area and local regulations stipulate that  “structures shouldn’t be higher than the tree line” and “be congruent with the existing main building and surrounding structures”.


Can Ramlan throw light as to how such a Sports Training Centre could be built complying with the British heritage regulations, and how the Sports Ministry had started using the TARRC in Brickendonbury by sending 14 squash players and 10 archers therefore without submitting any building plan for the proposed Sports Training Centre – even before approval had been given by Parliament?



*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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