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Government’s RM 3.5 Million Bailout Of Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) Is Irresponsible And Against National Interest As More Millions Of Ringgit Will Have To Be Spent In Future And No Action is Taken Against The Failed Organiser.

Press Statement

by Lim Guan Eng


(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): DAP opposes the government’s RM 3.5 million bailout of LTdL as an irresponsible act that is against the national interest as many more millions of ringgit will have to be spent in future and no action taken against both the failed organizer, First Cartel Sdn Bhd, and sports officials involved. Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Azalina Othman Said had announced in Parliament on 22.8.2006 that,

"The total cost to be borne by the government to take over as organiser of the LTdL is RM3,458,844.35 and this is not to bail out First Cartel Sdn Bhd. Her Ministry had agreed to settle an outstanding debt of RM2,307,909.09 claimed by International Cycling Union (UCI), that is, RM1,056,238.25 owed to the cycling related creditors and RM1,251,670.84 to television related creditors while the Tourism Ministry would fork out RM1,150,935.26 to settle outstanding debts on hotel bills.”


The immediate question that comes to mind is whether the government has so much money that it can not find a better use for RM 3.5 million than to bail out a failed cycling event that provides minimal value for improvement of Malaysian sports. Just like the waste of building the proposed High-Performance Training Centre in London expected to cost hundreds of millions of ringgit, the money spent on bailing out LTdL and organizing it should be spent on developing Malaysian cyclists and athletes.


If paying the RM 3.5 million bills owed by the failed organizer, including hotel bills, is not a bailout then how does the government define a bailout? The government and Datuk Azalina are in a state of complete denial that the LTdL has failed and the government is undertaking a massive bailout to keep it afloat. Worse, no action is taken against those responsible for this failure that has tarnished the international reputation and sporting image of the country and Malaysian sports in general. What happened to transparency and accountability promoted by Datuk Azalina in Malaysian sports?


This sends out a wrong message contrary to the core of the Abdullah administration in promising to root out corruption and stopping the use of public money to bail out failed private ventures. Other private enterprises will be expecting similar bailouts and such unhealthy practices will not encourage fostering a first-class mentality that is independent and competitive.  Further Datuk Azalina must explain how the government can do better when a private enterprise can not cope despite obtaining full government and private sector sponsorship such as Telekom.


Malaysian Grand Prix Has Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso But Has The LTdL Any Lance Armstrong Or Top Cyclists?

From an initial cost of RM 9 million in its inception in 1996, the cost of LTdL has ballooned to more than RM 22 million. The cost will only increase in future and it is irresponsible for the government to spend tens of millions of ringgit for the LTdl that has doubtful value and returns?


Datuk Azalina must not forget that unlike the F1 racing event, the LTdL does not attract top-class cyclists. Despite the massive outlay, the Malaysian F1 can boast the presence of all the top F1 stars, such as the greatest F1 driver in history Michael Schumacher and current world champion Fernando Alonso, racing the Malaysian Grand Prix boosted by a strong world-wide television audience. Can the LTdL boast the same international presence such as top cyclists like Lance Armstrong or world-wide television coverage?


Clearly the present administration is continuing with the old paradigm of bailouts without any action against those responsible and using the public money to keep failed ventures alive. DAP dreads to think how much more public money would be lost before the government comes to its senses by abandoning such schemes and stop the wastage of public.


Instead of accountability and transparency, DAP regrets that the youngest and newest Cabinet Minister in Datuk Azalina is continuing the discredited policies of bailouts. MCA Youth President Datuk Liow Tiong Lai is also a massive disappointment in failing to match his rhetoric of good governance with his performance as Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports.


DAP urges the government to have the courage to let the LTdL fail as a lesson to sports administrators and private enterprises that they have to pay the price of the failures. The government should not be afraid of being excluded from the UCI, if sports officials can wake up to the new paradigm that they have to be accountable for their failures. Better to bear the short pain now of cutting your losses immediately than sustain long-term pain of bailouts without end.



* Lim Guan Eng,  Secretary-General of DAP

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