Bumiputera Malaysia

Bumiputera Malaysia

By a Malaysian for his country

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Prime Minister Abdullah scolded by Johor Sultan

Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi tried his best to hide his weaknesses by diverting the attention of the people to the embarassing 9th Malaysia Plan (9MP). Yesterday, he was in Johor to launch the 9MP's multi billion ringgit South Johor Economic Region (SJER) project, also known as the Wilayah Pembangunan Iskandar. The controversial Johor ruler Sultan Iskandar was also present in the SJER launch event.

The sultan embarasses Abdullah by saying that the 83-year-old causeway to Singapore was undermining the state's economy and is a vestige of colonialism. Sultan Iskandar said that the causeway, which blocks the natural flow of water in the Straits of Johor, must be demolished and allow ships to go through. To the shock of the 2,000 people present and thousands of viewers at home of the live telecast over RTM 1 and TV3, the sultan digressed from his written text and said the Johor Causeway should be removed. Abdullah skipped the press conference after the event.

It is the same Johor causeway/crooked bridge issue that first created the tension between Abdullah and former premier Tun Dr. Mahathir (Abdullah's government had reversed Mahathir's decision to build a bridge to Singapore). Abdullah had said the causeway will remain as it is as "it is the people's wish".

Analysts and economists have voiced concerns over the SJER project. The government has long dreamed of turning sleepy southern Johor into a Hong Kong-style metropolis, but instead abandoned buildings mar the Johor's skyline and nervous Singaporean investors shy away. Scores of ugly concrete pillars bristle from the seabed alongside the failed RM6.3 billion JB Waterfront City project.

Vehicles trapped in the flood water in Johor's state capital, Johor Bahru

Perhaps the sleeping Abdullah should look into why the state continues to be plagued by other problems instead of continuing to lie to the people. These include high crime rates, traffic snarl, corruption, poor city planning, a narrow channel of water with one of highest toxic levels in the world, highest inflation in Malaysia due to massive inflow of the stronger Singapore dollar and a whole colony of underground industries to cater to Singaporeans and others (DVD piracy and prostitution).