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Much ado about nothing at ECRL ground breaking event

August 10, 2017

Rather than argue over the lack of 'Malaysianess' at the event, Perkasa and Umno Youth should ask if the Chinese own the project, and if they are investing or giving us a loan.



By TK Chua

I am amused by the argument between Perkasa and Umno Youth over the lack of “nationalism” and “Malaysianess” during the ground breaking ceremony of the East Cost Rail Link (ECRL) project in Pahang recently.

To my consternation, both parties were talking exactly the same baloney. Nationalism, whatever this term means, is now confined to flying Malaysian flags, speaking Bahasa Malaysia, and making ushers at an event wear the kebaya.

It is unfortunate Perkasa can’t see beyond its nose when criticising. Similarly, it is sad Umno Youth are unable to counter the criticism with any cogent argument.

Maybe this is what we Malaysians live by nowadays – it is all about the sizzle, not the substance.

We are overcome with pride and confidence when we see the Malaysian flag, someone wearing the baju kebaya or when we hear “Negara Ku” or speeches delivered in Bahasa Malaysia. I guess when we have nothing much left, it is good enough just to cling to such things.

I have not heard Perkasa and Umno Youth debating about the “ownership” and “control” of the ECRL project. Who ultimately is “calling the shots” in this project? Is China “investing” or just “lending” us the money to do the project?

I think these would have been the pertinent questions if we were truly concerned with nationalism and Malaysia’s national interests.

If China is in total control of the project, does it matter whether the ground-breaking ceremony had all the features of “Malaysianess”?

If China is lending us money and yet has full control of the project, Umno Youth and Perkasa ought to ask who really is bearing all the risks. Loans must be repaid regardless of the feasibility and profitability of the project. Loans must be repaid even if the project is poorly implemented.

TK Chua is an FMT reader.

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