KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 23): Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has asked the new Government to establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into controversial China-linked projects, the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) and two Strategic Energy Resources (SSER) pipeline projects.
These deals were inked under his administration and they came under fire for committing Malaysia to mega contracts perceived to be lopsided against it.
In a lengthy Facebook post today, Najib said the RCI was needed to clear misconception about the projects as Malaysians are unaware of the facts and are being misled by government propaganda.
“I urge the government to hold an RCI on these three projects to determine if there is (any) wrongdoing.
“The people have the right to know if the decision to cancel (the projects) is made for a reasonable and strong reason and was not done to vent anger against the Barisan Nasional (BN) government or against the Chinese government that does not want to concede to Pakatan Harapan (PH Government) demands,” Najib said.
He said the misconceptions include that the projects are too costly; that the BN gets remuneration from these projects; that the interest rates and loans are too expensive; that Malaysia could not afford the three projects; and that multilayer payments are unfair and biased.
Najib called on the government to disclose all agreements, feasibility studies, economic impact assessments and cost-benefit analyses to determine whether the projects ought to be resumed or cancelled.
“This will allow the people to judge for themselves. Until all the documents are revealed, I feel disappointed and sad for the people of the East Coast of the peninsula because they would lose the potential of development in their area and the chance for them to improve their economic status to be similar with those living in the West Coast.”
However, he did not comment on a remark made by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad during a five-day official visit to China that 'Najib is stupid' – an observation triggered by the lopsided agreements, which had prompted Mahathir to go to China to persuade the Chinese that fiscally-strapped Malaysia could not afford to proceed with the contracts.
Najib maintained the agreements have exit clauses unlike the independent power plant (IPP) or toll agreements signed during Mahathir's first tenure as Prime Minister.
“Until now the PH can't fulfill their promise to abolish tolls," he said.