July 14, 2010
Old Sungei Besi Airport Land and its surroundings–Hyde Park of Kuala Lumpur
by Aspan Alias
One of the profound and insightful duties of leaders is to ensure the nation’s wealth and possessions are securely protected and managed for the good sake of the people and their future generation.
For past 3 decades Malaysians have too often been deceived by the pranks and shenanigans of their leaders and government so much they don’t trust anything that their leaders and government do as they are often perceived to be traitors and thieves who only work for money and personal glory.
The corrupt political leaders and implementers work hand in glove to inflate cost of development projects to build commissions (for corruption) into the contract and at the end of the day the public will pay the cost of a vineyard for a crate of apple and oranges.
Fast track projects through negotiated tenders becomes a convenient means of practicing corruption. It does not take a genius with powerful calculating machines to ascertain the amount of public money snatched by our leaders since these projects were introduced by Dr Mahathir Mohamad during his administration (1981-2003) and since then.
The political leaders and implementers with big power are the biggest ‘consultants’ and these ‘consultants’ more often than not are the ones who earn the biggest ‘profits’, (commissions), even bigger than the contractors get out of these projects.
If we are to look at these things from the angle of morality, it is not hard to learn that these so-called leaders spend their entire time and efforts to discover and conjure up new methods of messing with public funds by proposing low priority developments in the name of propping up nation’s image and reputation.
The highly inflated costs of these projects would again facilitate the ‘consultants’ to reap quickie huge profits by assigning and selling the projects to a third party who subsequently sells them to another party who ultimately paid crumbs.
A project can be treated like a multilevel business and the final contractor who implements it still makes worthwhile amount of return and proceeds after changing hands and ownership. The preceding owners coldly make a good sum without doing anything other than juggling figures and costs that the public ultimately have to bear.
The latest which I heard not long ago is over the old airport land in Sungei Besi. The ‘consultant’ is now doing the wheeling dealing and now is talking the deal with an affluent and influential lady while the third party from Penang is waiting to purchase the project.
Somebody or a few of them are going to get a whopping amount of profit when a third party buys from the group and it is expected that the project will change hands a few times before the final party gets to implement it.
Now, the question is: do our leaders see that it is going to put the ruling government into real trouble? Do we accept the fact that it is an actual day light robbery if the talk in the market place about this development becomes a realty?
The new administration promised that there won’t be any negotiated tender anymore in response to the massive complaints from the public all these years. They promised that there will be an open tender and the public don’t have to have worries any more.
BUT the corrupt have innovative minds. They know how to walk away with part of the project cost as their big part-time money . The Project Management (PMC) will manage all government contracts and in the process what can stop the leaders to talk to the PMC to decide to whom the project would be awarded to with the inbuilt cost inclusive of the extra prices for sum of kick-backs to the person or persons in authority?
Let us look very mind-numbingly at the manner in which the big and gigantic contract development jobs are awarded to the companies of cronies behind the appointed ‘professional’ PMCs.
I pass by the Sungei Besi old airport almost daily to and fro and I can see that this is the most valuable plot of 500 acres of flat and beautiful land. Some people with their minds and hearts for the generation to come will certainly want to see that kind of valuable land to be reserved for a gigantic park, stretching to border of the present Istana Negara and its surroundings.
Why must we just see every stretch of valuable land available is for money-making development? Why can’t our national leaders learn from the advanced countries they visit year in and year out on how they use land of this size which is strategically located?
Why can’t this stretch of land be turned into green and flowery park like the Hyde Park in London, let us say. The Hyde Park of 2500 acres is located right in the middle of Metropolitan City of London, where Londoners and tourists spend their time resting or walking about with their families in a peaceful and clean environment.
Why do we have to deny the public opportunity to enjoy this good part of the city , the only good and available spot left in Kuala Lumpur for a park? Can’t the business society and the leaders of the nation sacrifice for the general public by providing a nice park where they can bring their family members for a nice weekend outing in Kuala Lumpur?
It is heartache to see that every inch of land in the city is meant for businessmen and the corrupt to rack in millions of ringgit at the expense of the people. To those who are involved in the attempt to put up a commercial development on this plot of land, please be reasonable and give the voting public a chance to see some good decision making by the authority who claim to be holistic and balanced in our development strategy for our nation.
I would ask Datuk Seri Najib to pay special attention and make sure that the public at large is the final recipient of this property for posterity. For those who are familiar with this location, imagine how it would ultimately look like if greens and flowers are planted with all amenities and facilities for public use.
Then those of us who cannot to go to London, Paris, San Francisco, New York (Central Park) or Prague or many other major cities in Europe and America can enjoy the pleasure of having a beautiful and well manicured park of our own in Kuala Lumpur.
It is now obligatory on everyone to get this message across to our leaders in Putrajaya as this is a major issue to us in Kuala Lumpur and the rest of the country. This is the only chance for people in Kuala Lumpur to live like those in major cities of the world ,which have large acreages of green lungs amidst the jungle of bricks and mortar and overbearing concrete sky scrappers.