Transportation Projects: A Comparison

According to pro-government blogger Lim Sian See, “All four major KL public transportation projects initiated by Mahathir [KL Monorail, Putra LRT, Star LRT, Intrakota Bus Services] were given to private companies via concessions and then promptly went bankrupt. The government had to bail out all of them. …Compare this to Najib’s transportation projects LRT1 extension, LRT2 extension and now the recently launched MRT 1 SBK, which are all in the hands of the government, do not have concession agreements that require periodic fee increases and were all delivered either on time and on budget or ahead of time and below budget.”

Well, here is Wong Chen’s response:

“Lim Sian See is making an unfair comparison because the Mahathir transport projects were privatisations that over time, went bad; whereas Najib’s projects are owned by the government and are new. Only time will tell if these Najib projects will create cost-effective economic multipliers.

“If Lim Sian See wants to criticise Mahathir, I feel it is his right to make fair comment, but to then say that Najib is better than Dr. M is completely unproven. Nobody in Malaysia believes that Najib is better than Dr. Mahathir when it comes to infrastructure development. One thing is certain: the Najib government has never definitively declared the cost of his mega transport projects and the costs keep rising and changing. The market consensus is that Najib’s transport projects are overpriced.”

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