Kula pans Najib for ‘infantile’ argument over building Socso hospital

Former minister M Kula Segaran says ex-PM Najib Razak is wrong in claiming that the Socso rehabilitation hospital will be built in his Ipoh Barat constituency.

PETALING JAYA: Ipoh Barat MP M Kula Segaran today described as childish Najib Razak’s argument in defence of a plan to build a rubber technology centre in Pahang.

Kula said Najib could not compare the previous government’s plan to build a major Social Security Organisation (Socso) rehabilitation hospital to the current government’s plan to build a rubber technology centre in Pahang to win his argument.

In a statement, Kula said the hospital had to be built to rehabilitate workers suffering from accidents and diseases, adding that this was the core objective of Socso.

Correcting Najib, he said the Socsco rehabilitation hospital was planned for construction, not in his Ipoh Barat constituency, but in Meru, which was in the Tambun parliamentary constituency.

He said this following the former prime minister’s defence of Malaysian Rubber Board chairman Ahmad Nazlan Idris who had been criticised by some for mooting a RM100 million rubber technology centre in his parliamentary constituency of Jerantut, less than a month after he was appointed board chairman.

Najib said there had been no such criticism when a RM500 million Socsco rehabilitation hospital was mooted to be built “in Kula’s constituency” at a time when he was the human resources minister.

Kula said the hospital was to serve the northern region, as the only other Socso rehabilitation centre is in Melaka. He said the Ipoh location was chosen as it was an industrial state and had recorded the highest number of industrial accidents in the country.

He said there was a difference between coming out with a project just after a month of being appointed as chairman of a government-linked company — at a time when resources could be better used to protect jobs and businesses — and a much-needed social project.

He said making such comparisons was a mere political gimmick and that one had to look at the impact of these projects and their long-term benefits for the people.

Kula said to “make a comparison without analysing reasons, details, context and circumstances of a project revealed infantile thinking”.

On May 23, Nazlan revealed the plan for a RM100 million Eastern Region Rubber Technology Centre in the Jerantut district. A 809ha rubber plantation would also be created to boost the local economy, he told Berita Harian.

Last October, the RM500 million Socso hospital project in Ipoh was announced under the 2020 Budget.

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