2012 Youth Day spending a whooping RM 55 million?

Last year a document emerged on the internet alleging that the contractor Stadium First involved in the 2012 Youth Day, has claimed RM 10.6 million or 70% of the total cost of their service amounting to RM 15.2 million. This total amount included RM 2.04 million for the cost of K-Pop artistes from South Korea. The Chief Secretary to the Ministry of Youth and Sports Mohid Mohamed admitted that it was indeed a valid albeit early invoice for the cost of organising the Youth Day event.

The cost also correspond to the original allocation of RM 15 million allocated by the Youth and Sports Ministry for that purpose.

The latest surprise is, this amount has balloned to another RM 12 million. This is on top of the claim by the Ministry last year that they also received private sponsorship amounting to RM 28 million. Overall, the cost of organising the 2012 Youth Day celebration is a whooping RM 55 million! In other words, since the event was held for five days, the government spent an average of RM 11 million a day.

Two pressing questions for the Youth and Sports Minister

I only have two but very important questions to the Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin. I am aware that this happened before his term, and as such is not due to his fault. Hence i hope that the new Minister will answer honestly to prove his commitment to good governance as a role model to young people everywhere.

  1. Why did the cost of the 2012 Youth Day celebration ballooned so drastically when the then Youth and Sports Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek even boasted that private sector sponsorship increased tremendously from RM 10 million in 2011 to RM 28 million in 2012.

  2. I also urge the Minister to reveal the cost breakdown, including sponsorships and the list of contractors as well as their jobs and costs.

PRU spending targetting the youngs?

I want to stress here that as a young person myself, I see no benefit in spending tens of millions for five days of entertainment programmes. And given the proximity to the 13th GE, one suspects that the RM 55 million was indeed a Barisan Nasional election spending targetting our youth. The Prime Minister's speech during the launch of the event has clearly shown that the government has taken advantage of the Youth Day celebration to spread government propaganda and to fish for votes.

Who benefited - the youth or contractors?

The question therefore arises as to who reaped the most benefit from such mega spending, our youth or the contractors who were awarded the lucrative jobs?

If the government wants to spend RM 55 million for the young people, may I suggest that there are many more ways to do so. For example, in my area in Bukit Mertajam, there are 4 schools which do not have a school field, namely SRJKT Kampung Baru, SRJKT Ladang Alma, SRJKC Keow Kuang, and do not think that only SRJKs which suffer from such fate. There is even an SK Machang Bubok, a 100-year old school which does not even have so basic a facility as a school field.

Recently, there was a group of 43 blind students from SRK Bukit Minyak who appealled for assistance because they are no longer given Braillers as before. As such they faced difficulties in their studies. Each Brailler cost about RM 2, 250; in other words, the amount spent for just ONE day of entertainment at the 2012 Youth Day celebration, RM 11 million can already buy about 5,000 units of Braillers to benefit the education of our blind children.

And finally, the recurring annual problem of students from minority race not getting a palce in the university, if the cost of putting a student through higher education is approximately RM 50,000 per person, this is an estimate for a law degree in a private college, the cost for 2012 Youth Day, RM 55 million can put at least an additional 1,000 students through higher education.

Steven Sim Chee Keong National Director of Politial Education, DAPSY & MP for Bukit Mertajam