Najib: Why federal funds now for PTMP?

PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Najib Razak has questioned the need for federal funding of Penang’s proposed RM46 billion transport master project, and gave a reminder that no work had taken place on the project but some luxurious condominiums had already been sold.

In an online posting tonight, Najib contrasted the attitude towards federal funding by DAP leaders before, when they were in opposition, to the present.

He said when the Barisan Nasional held federal power, the DAP-led Penang government had argued that the federal government could not interfere in the project as land was a state matter.

The Penang government, Najib recalled, had also said it would finance the project by selling off land to private companies. “The luxurious condos built on parts of the land are almost completed, yet no construction has started for the PTMP,” he said in a reference to reclamation rights granted to a company involved in the master plan.

Najib said the PTMP comprised a few components including an undersea tunnel and Pan Island Link highway, reputed to be the costliest highway in Malaysia at RM9 billion.

Earlier today, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the federal government has not ruled out the possibility of funding the PTMP if the state government puts in a request.

Lim said there were numerous aspects which needed to be discussed, including the “financial architecture” of the project, before a decision on the matter could be made.

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow recently said the PTMP was a big project and as such should be placed under the federal government.

To this Najib sarcastically suggested that the Pakatan Harapan administration could take a loan to fund the project. “Aid for the people could be reduced, while the nation’s debt increases to RM800 billion,” he said.