Continuous attacks by Pandan member ofparliament Mohd Rafizi Ramli on the cost of the MRT project which he says will be a burden on the rakyat (people), exposes the short-term thinking of Rafizi and Pakatan, said Barisan Nasional Strategic Communications Team.
It slammed Rafizi for ignoring the benefits of the project to the public.
“What he does not say is that the cost of NOT doing the MRT project and the various impressive improvements to the public transportation projects in recent years would be much greater,” the team said in a statement here yesterday.
The team revealed that the World Bank’s 2015 Malaysia’s Economic Monitor report on the public transportation project include commuters wasted between 270 and 500 million man-hours in the Greater KL jams in 2014.
The team said that according the report, cars used a possible 1.2 billion litres of fuel idling in traffic and at current prices, this would mean RM2.52 billion of the rakyat’s money burned away every year.
“Lost hours and fuel for each person in Greater KL came to at least RM3,100 each year, more than the monthly local average salary (RM2,795); and total cost of traffic in Greater KL is estimated at 1.1 per cent to 2.2 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2014.
“In 2016 terms, this would mean a yearly loss to Malaysia of RM13 billion to RM26 billion,” they said.
The team said despite the high investment cost of public transportation, the government will be able to indirectly recoup back its investments over the long-term from taxes on the improved productivity, increased property values and increased economic activity in the areas served by public transport.
In addition, it said the government will also reap bigger savings from the reduced environmental and health-care costs.
“Efficient public transport projects such as the MRT are investments that last for decades that will put money back into the pockets of Malaysians from time-savings, reduced transport and car ownership costs. Malaysians also benefit from increased well-being and reduced stress.
“We are appalled that Rafizi has such myopic and unstrategic thinking and continue to make this an issue while completely ignoring that the benefits to both the government and the people far outweigh the costs – especially since it has been proven that Malaysia’s MRT project costs are not over-priced.”
The team added that the government had earned praises for delivering such big public transportation improvements within time and budget since 2010.
“It is only selfish and short-term thinking politicians who cannot see the big picture – and worse, continues to use outrageously big lies and deceit to attack this,” the team added.– Bernama