Money saved from mega projects meant for rural development, says Pua

Tony Pua (third from left) speaks to the press in Cameron Highlands.

CAMERON HIGHLANDS: Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s political secretary, Tony Pua, today refuted suggestions that the federal government had neglected the development of rural areas.

He said the government was, in fact, trying to delay and cut costs on mega projects, including the Mass Rapid Transit 2 (MRT 2) and Light Rail Transit 3 (LRT 3), in order to channel these savings into developing rural areas.

“Some rural folk ask what these city-based mega projects have to do with Cameron Highlands.

“But I think they have got the wrong impression. If we don’t reduce the cost of these mega projects, we won’t be able to bring any positive change to the rural economy.

“These debts have become a burden on the government, and as a result, it is not able to develop rural areas,” he told a press conference at the DAP Brinchang operations centre here.

He claimed the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government had “higher potential for developing rural areas” than its predecessor, Barisan Nasional (BN).

He also said the government had allocated RM100 million to uplift the Orang Asli.

However, recent reports show that two projects for one-stop centres have been shut down in Cameron Highlands and Gua Musang.

Umno vice-president Ismail Sabri Yaakob reportedly said that a RM15 million allocation to develop the infrastructure of Pos Lanai under the Jelai constituency was withdrawn by the PH government as well.

Speaking today, Pua also questioned the integrity of BN’s Cameron Highlands candidate, Ramli Mohd Nor.

Ramli, a former senior cop from the commercial crimes department, had been seen riding a motorcycle and campaigning with former prime minister Najib Razak who is currently under investigation in relation to the 1MDB scandal.

“When (Ramli) was a police officer, he did nothing to investigate 1MDB or bring to book those behind it,” Pua said.

“Now he is campaigning with Najib. Wherever Najib goes, he follows him as though he is some hero. What precedent is he (Ramli) setting for fellow Malaysians?

“If someone cannot differentiate right from wrong, he’s not suitable to be an MP.”