Friday, March 31, 2006

9th Malaysia Plan (2006 - 2010) - Disappointing

One word says it all - DISAPPOINTING. I dozed off listening to the Prime Minister tabling the 9th Malaysia Plan (9MP) detailing the masterplan for the nation for the next five years in Parliament earlier today. It seems a norm for his major speeches in the Parliament to be a bore. I've listened to his Budget speeches before and they were seriously boring. Not that speeches in Parliament are suppose to be anything but dull, I actually expect something extra during the more important speeches made in Parliament such as this one. It is THE blueprint for our nation for the next five years! You would consider that major, wouldn't you?

Parliament House

Yea, I'm one of the weird people who would listen to these things but hey, I'm concerned how are these people handling our economy and where our country is headed! This Malaysia Plan is important for various reasons. This is the first ever tabling of a Malaysia Plan for the current Prime Minister. It is also the start of the second phase of Vision 2020 to transform Malaysia into a developed nation by the year 2020. Most importantly, it is regarded as the catalyst needed to stimulate Malaysia's laggard economy. To me at least, it failed terribly and was way below expectations. Of course I'm not like those silly people hoping for a reduction in income tax, lower petrol prices, no more in sin tax and all that. Hello?!? Those things happen during the tabling of the Budget, ok!!!

Penang Bridge
(picture from Wikipedia)

Penangites were promised a surprise, a pleasant gift for 9MP by the Prime Minister himself. It is after all his beloved home state and Penang has been neglected way too long. Many expected the announcement to be either the Second Penang Bridge or the Penang Monorail or both even. I expected much more than that. After all, both of these projects were suppose to be implemented ten years ago! Turns out, two sentences were all Penang had in the whole of the 9MP speech; one for the bridge and another for the monorail. It sounded more like these two were slotted in to the speech rather than one of the few highlights of 9MP.

I expected a bigger stimulus for the state but that was not to be. Guess how much Penang will be receiving for the whole of 9MP? Please remember that this will be for a duration of five years. RM6.6 billion - the fourth lowest amount allocated to a state! Please also remember to take into consideration that the construction of the bridge and the monorail system will take up most, if not all of that allocation! If not mistaken, even the Penang Outer Ring Road (PORR) is financed through 9MP. What else is left for other development in the state? The state definitely contributes more than that in taxes and other revenue within the five year period and that's all we will get back? Insane!!!

Federal Government Development Allocation and Expenditure for 9th Malaysian Plan
(click to enlarge)

I'm seriously concerned how Penang is being blatantly neglected over and over again. If you want to push the agenda that Penang will be getting the Second Penang Bridge and Penang Monorail, please remember these projects are truly justified and way overdue! We were promised of these projects over ten years ago!!! I don't know about you guys but I'm just disappointed at 9MP for Malaysia as a whole and for Penang in particular. Don't get me wrong, 9MP wasn't all bad. There are some good points in 9MP but it just won't create considerable buzz to stimulate the economy, IMHO. I just don't find it inspiring and this is troubling considering I will be joining the workforce in the near future.

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