No wonder Perak remains second poorest state in country

USA, the richest nation in the world, has already spent billions of dollars on its space programme. Now, Perak wants to build a local rocket and propulsion technology centre in Manjung. (Bernama pic)

Last night, I saw this report: “Perak to build National Rocket and Aerospace Innovation Centre”.

It was about the Perak State Development Corporation (PKNP), through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Perak 4.0 Industry Sdn Bhd (Perak 4.0), collaborating with Lestari Advanced Technology Sdn Bhd (LATSB) to develop the National Rocket and Aerospace Innovation Centre.

Perak 4.0 CEO and director Mohd Ariff Yeop Ishak said through the collaboration, LATSB will develop the innovation centre on a 31ha industrial land owned by PKNP in Tanjung Batu, Manjung, in Perak.

“This project is set to become the country’s first local rocket and propulsion technology centre in the defence industry,” he said after signing a memorandum of understanding.

Ariff signed the MoU on behalf of Perak 4.0 while LATSB was represented by its managing director, Ahmad Joahari Abu Bakar. It was witnessed by Perak Menteri Besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu.

Ariff said the development of the first phase of the innovation centre is expected to cost between RM30 million and RM40 million and is expected to be completed in 2024.

“The development entails the construction of an administrative office, chemical, propellant, structural and production, and avionics and electronics buildings, as well as their designs,” he said.

He said the second phase of the innovation centre is expected to commence in 2024 involving the construction of additional buildings, and their cost has yet to be ascertained.

Besides investment from LATSB, the first phase of the project is expected to attract domestic and foreign direct investment of RM200 million, he said, adding that 1,000 highly-skilled jobs will be created by 2020 and 8,000 by 2040.

I want to state that Perak was once the richest state. After I read the above article, I do not wonder any more why the Perak MB stopped my appointment as one of the economic advisers. I have also stopped wondering why Perak remains the second poorest state in Malaysia.

Malaysia was once the largest tin producer in the world and Perak produced more than half of the total production. The first car was registered in Perak. That is why “A” was the number plate of the first registered car in Malaysia.

All Malaysians, especially the Perak elected members, must know that the USA, the richest nation in the world, has already spent billions of dollars on their space programme.

As of 2018, there have been 18 astronaut and cosmonaut fatalities during spaceflight. Astronauts have also died while training for space missions, such as the Apollo 1 launch pad fire which killed an entire crew of three. There have also been some non-astronaut fatalities during spaceflight-related activities.

In early January 2019, China had succeeded in sending a rocket to land on the far side of the moon.

I am very disappointed with our elected members.

During the last general election, I donated more than RM100,000 to each of the four component parties of Pakatan Harapan. Moreover, I campaigned for each of them.

If Perak does not stop wasting RM30-40 million and 31ha of industrial land, I am very sure Perak will lose in the next general election to Barisan Nasional.

I hope our Prime Minster Dr Mahathir Mohamad will stop Perak from wasting money and land on this aerospace project.

Koon Yew Yin is a retired chartered civil engineer and one of the founders of IJM Corporation Bhd and Gamuda Bhd.

The views expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.