LANGKAWI: An academic has warned Pakatan Harapan (PH) to be wary of cronies, saying they could spell trouble for the newly elected government.
Speaking to FMT, Universiti Malaya’s Awang Azman Awang Pawi gave the example of developer Ting Pek Khiing, who recently announced a proposed RM30 billion development called Langkawi New City.
He said Ting’s sudden appearance raised question marks as he was known to be a crony of Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“Ting was a bankrupt, and has been linked with the Bakun dam and Ekran issues. His reappearance is worrying as there are concerns that the issue of cronyism will repeat itself.
“This would erode the trust and confidence of Malaysians, who are looking to build a country that is more transparent. They certainly do not want such elements to be rampant.
“The PH government has yet to fully stabilise, and they should be wary of such business allies which can erode the rakyat’s confidence,” he said.
The political analyst had been asked to comment on Ting’s reemergence after 16 years out of the limelight, and his sudden announcement of the proposed development, to be located on reclaimed land off the west side of the island.
Ting had reportedly said the project would involve the construction of 30,000 high-end condominium units, commercial centres, berthing facilities for ocean liners and yachts, and other facilities.
Ting rose to prominence during Mahathir’s earlier days in power by building a resort hotel in Langkawi in record time. His companies undertook the massive Bakun dam and a commercial centre, Plaza Rakyat, in central Kuala Lumpur. However, both projects were stymied and his companies went bust.
Awang questioned the logic of a RM30 billion investment on an island that was not very big, saying he found it hard to accept.
“Why is it only focused on Langkawi if the investment is truly RM30 billion? A RM3 billion investment would still make sense, as the size of Langkawi is not as big as Kedah,” he said.
The analyst said PH should view such criticism as an attempt to strengthen it, not to bring it down.
“This is because PH’s win (in the general election) was not solely due to the strengths of the party and Mahathir. It was also a result of the people who wanted a change for the better.”