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Abdullah must shoot down the first “white elephant”project of his premiership - RM490 million Sports Centre in London - or his RM220 billion Ninth Malaysia Plan will start under a cloud of public doubt and suspicion about accountability, transparency and integrity
Abdullah must publicly put a stop to this project tomorrow when he announces details of projects and implementation mechanism of the Ninth Malaysia Plan, in view of the statements by the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the Youth and Sports Minister, Datuk Azalina Othman Said that the government was going ahead with it despite well-nigh nation-wide consensus in and out of Parliament against spending half a billion ringgit for such a sports centre outside London.
We have one Cabinet Minister after another coming out to declare support for the declassification of four documents connected with Malaysia-Singapore negotiations over the RM1.1 billion crooked half-bridge – but why are Cabinet Ministers so silent on the justification for their support of the RM490 million Sports Centre outside London, especially as many of them sit on the Cabinet Committee on Sports.
Are Ministers on the Cabinet Committee on Sports prepared to identify themselves and individually defend the RM490 million Sports Centre outside London, or are the majority of them as much in the dark as the rest of the country about the whole project?
The Sun today carried the exclusive report quoting councillors at East Hertford in United Kingdom, the site of the Tun Abdul Razak Research Centre (TARRC) where the Sports Centre is to be developed, that the land concerned was deemed for research and development and that “it would be very hard to change the use of the centre”.
Furthermore, there are enough sports activity centres within the locality and the adding of another sports centre as proposed by the Malaysian Sports Ministry had been described as an “overkill”. The centre is situated on a green belt which means that it cannot be destroyed by over-development.
The crooked half-bridge is an expensive lesson for Malaysians, where the cancellation of a mega-project can be as costly as proceeding with the project.
Abdullah should give an assurance that this would not be the case with the proposed “white elephant” of RM490 million Sports Centre outside London or any other mega-projects which are scrapped because they are extravagant misappropriation of public funds.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman