We call on the Malaysian Government to announce the details of the projects to be shelved under the Eighth Malaysia Plan. Stopping projects may enable it to reallocate money for new projects to cope with the new situation

Press Statement
by Dr Tan Seng Giaw

(Kuala Lumpur, Tuesday):  The world political, economic and military circumstances have changed. The American invasion of Iraq and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) pandemic affects the economy. The Malaysian economic growth this year may only be 3% or lower, not 4.5% as forecast.

 Abdullah maintains that the Government cannot wait until the economy is good before planning and implementing infrastructure development. This is reasonable. Because of various factors, the Government has to review projects to meet the needs of the time.

 Under the Eighth Malaysia Plan, development allocations are RM110 billion. Once reviewed, many projects will be put aside, so that money can be used for stimulation package such as that for tourism that is so badly hit by SARS.

 Apparently, the Government is considering canceling projects under the Eighth Malaysia Plan, amounting to RM 12 billion. It has not revealed the details of the latest move. Although the Deputy Prime Minister has said that the first shopping centre in Putrajaya, Alamanda,  45% of which have been completed, will not be shelved, some projects will be deferred.

 In 2001, the RM7.6 billion stimulation package was concentrated in the construction industry. But, in 2002, the industry only grew by 2.1%. This means that there is a limitation on the effects of such a package. There are weaknesses such as poor implementation. We hope that the new stimulation package that may be announced in the middle of this month will benefit the majority of the people.


* Dr Tan Seng Giaw, DAP National Vice-Chairman and MP for Kepong