Saturday, July 22, 2017

ECRL - learn from Sri Lanka before it's too late.

Media Statement by Yeo Bee Yin, ADUN Damansara Utama, on Friday 21 July 2017 in Petaling Jaya.

Putrajaya should heed Nazir Razak’s suggestion to thoroughly scrutinize East Coast Rail Line (ECRL).

The Edge Financial Daily reported that Nazir Razak has called for government scrutiny on China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiatives, particularly the East Coast Rail Line (ECRL) project at the roundtable on “China’s Belt and Road Initative in ASEAN: Economic Opportunities and ASEAN Centrality”[i].

We have repeatedly raised concerns regarding the East Coast Rail Line (ECRL) but all seem to have fallen into deaf ears. Now even Nazir Razak, who is a prominent banker, raised concerns over the value proposition of the project as well as the debt implications, we hope that Putrajaya will heed his suggestion to thoroughly scrutinize the deal.

ECRL project is awarded to China Communication Construction Co Ltd (CCCC) without open tender. At RM 55 billion price tag, it is deemed the most expensive railroad of its kind by The Edge Weekly after benchmarking it against other rail projects around the world. The project is going to be financed by a loan from China via Export-Import (Exim) Bank of China. Putrajaya has repeatedly said that the loan is offered at low interest rate, but how “low” is the “low interest rate” ? What are the terms and conditions?

In short, it seems like with ECRL deal, most of the money that come from China via Exim bank will go back to China via CCCC, what’s left for Malaysians is an overpriced infrastructure and huge debt, only to be paid by the people in the future.

There is risk that reckless mega infrastructure constructions will send Malaysia into deep debt trap.  What happen to the troubled Sri Lanka offers a good glimpse into how mega infrastructure financed by debt without proper framework to benefit local economies through the construction and completion of the infrastructure, is not development but debt disaster in the making.




The Edge财经日报》报导说,纳西尔拉萨在“中国在东盟的一带一路计划:经济契机和东盟中心”圆桌讨论上呼吁政府审查中国的一带一路计划,尤其是东海岸铁路工程(ECRL.


ECRL工程是在没有公开竞标下,以550亿令吉颁授给中国交通建设公司(CCCC是非常高的价格。The Edge周报》在把这项工程和世界其他铁路工程进行国际标准衡量后,将它誉为世界上造价最昂贵的铁路。而中国出入口(Exim)银行将提供贷款来承担该工程的建筑费交通部部长拿督斯里廖中莱重复表示,Exim银行以低利息提供这笔贷款。但是,这“低利息”究竟有多“低”呢?还有什么其他的条款吗?


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Three Reasons Isa Samad Should Not be SPAD Chief

Media Statement by Yeo Bee Yin, State Assemblywoman for Damansara Utama on 23 June 2017 in Petaling Jaya.

On June 19, when Isa Samad resigned as Felda Global Ventures Holdings Berhad (FGV) chairman, Prime Minister Najib Razak appointed him as the acting chairman of the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) with immediate effect “in appreciation of Isa’s role” in FGV.

This is an absolutely ridiculous appointment. No one will believe that Isa is the best candidate to fill the post left vacant with the retirement of Syed Hamid Albar. Here are three main reasons why Isa Samad should not be the chief of SPAD.

First, he is undoubtedly incompetent. Under his chairmanship, FGV went from glory to sorry.
In 2012, when FGV went for its US$3.1 billion initial public offering (IPO), it was the world’s second largest IPO of the year, after only Facebook Inc’s US$16 billion IPO.

In five years, FGV’s market capitalisation dropped more than 60% from around RM19 billion to only around RM6 billion, meaning RM13 billion had evaporated from the original value of the company.The share price went from RM4.641on June 29, 2012 to only RM1.75 as of close of trading on June 23, 2017.

In addition, FGV started with a cash surplus of RM5.09 billion in December 2012 but four years later in December 2016, it is RM1.97 billion in debt. FGV’s current sorry state of affairs didn’t happen overnight, it was a result of a series of missteps, all of which were made under the watch of Isa.

Sunday, June 25, 2017





Friday, June 16, 2017

It is unnecessary and untimely for Putrajaya to impose tourism tax.

Media Statement by Yeo Bee Yin, ADUN for Damansara Utama on Saturday 10 June 2017 in Petaling Jaya.

It is unnecessary and untimely for Putrajaya to impose tourism tax.

We are very concerned with the rush of Putrajaya into imposing tourism tax, leaving hotel operators and those who are involved in confusion. It was reported that the taxation rate will be RM20, RM 10, RM 5 and RM2.50 per room per night for hotels with five star, four star, one to three star and other ratings respectively.

The lightning speed of the implementation of the Tourism Tax Bill 2017 passed just a few months ago shows that Putrajaya’s coffer is running so dry that it is going all out to milk more monies from the people in any way possible.

This swift implementation of the law passed in Parliament is in sharp contrast with the implementation of Child Offender Registry, which is provided by Child Act Amendment 2016. The government couldn’t complete the registry, which contains records of convicts who committed crimes against children including sexual crimes, nine months after the law was passed in the parliament (April 2016) and six months after the law was gazetted (July 2016)[i]. (The registry is finally ready now with slightly more than 100 child offenders record.) On a contrary, for Tourism Tax Act 2017, the government can’t wait to execute the law even before it is gazzetted! 

Friday, April 14, 2017







个怪罪受害者的父文化解何有么少的受害者有勇气向别说在罪案发生后求强奸生者的支援和害怕被怪罪视和被抛弃在马西亚每十宗强奸案只有两宗会被投平均来说每年有大3000宗强奸案假如我将没有投的案件算在们将会看到一个令人震惊的事实,那就是西亚每35分钟就会有一名女孩或女被强奸更糟的是3名强奸受害者中就有大两名是未成年人士— 16以下的女孩子 

Friday, April 7, 2017





伴随着中国现任国家主席习近平的“一带一路”计划 (该计划的目的是要通过海陆基建促进中国和60多个国家的贸易联系),中国透过它的国营企业积极参与在马来西亚和运输交通有关的基建工程并不令人惊讶。这包括广西北部湾国际港务集团有限公司拥有关丹港口的40%股权,以及中国电力国际发展公司在价值430亿令吉的马六甲皇京港的联营,还有中国进出口银行和中国交通建设股份有限公司对东海岸铁道(ERCL)的融资和承建。



东海岸铁道(ECRL)真是Game Changer吗?




《海峡时报》在它题为“马来西亚的东海岸铁道被誉为能颠覆现状(Game Changer) 的工程”新闻报导里,按照来自马来西亚政府官员的资料提供了一道有趣的计算。它把从深圳途经关丹港口及ECRL到巴生港口的路线费用,与途经新加坡及马六甲海峡的路线费用做个对比。这个计算显示关丹—ECRL路线需时135个小时,每吨运货费用则是56美元;而新加坡—马六甲海峡路线需时165个小时,每吨运输货物费用是50美元。




Sunday, April 2, 2017

THREE Questionable Areas of East Coast Rail Line (ECRL)


The Strait of Malacca is one of the most important shipping routes in the world, linking Indian and Pacific Oceans. As of now, the 900km long strait links East Asia with India, Middle East and Europe, with more than 50,000 merchant ships passing by every year, carrying about 40 percent of the world's trade.

The waterway is also an important geopolitical issue for China as nearly 80% of its total crude oil imports pass through the strait, leading the Former President Hu Jintao to label China's over-reliant on Strait of Malacca for its energy security as the “Malacca Dilemma” in 2003.

Coupled with China’s current President Xi JinPing’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative, which aims to improve trade connectivity of 60 plus countries on land and via sea, it is of no surprise to see China’s growing interest in Malaysia's mega infrastructure projects through its state-owned enterprises. These include Guangxi Beibu Gulf International Port Group Ltd owning 40% of Kuantan Port and PowerChina International’s joint venture in the RM43 billion Malacca Gateway development as well as the financing and construction of the East Coast Rail Line (ECRL) by The Export-Import (Exim) Bank of China and China Communication Construction Co Ltd (CCCC) respectively.

How Malaysia leverages on the “One Belt, One Road” initiative will have considerable implications to our relationship with the world biggest economy in the future. If it is done in a strategic and transparent manner, Malaysians will stand to benefit from this effort. Nevertheless, there is also a risk that reckless mega infrastructure constructions will send Malaysia into deep debt trap.  

What happen to the troubled Sri Lanka now offers a good glimpse into how mega infrastructure financed by debt without proper framework to benefit local economies through the construction and completion of the infrastructure, is not development but debt disaster in the making. Instead of investing in education and health care, Sri Lanka spends most of its revenue now to pay off the debts to China that was used to finance the now under-utilized mega infrastructure, from port to airport. 

Economy Rail Coast Line (ECRL) as a Game Changer?

The ECRL project will have 600km of electrified double-tracking lines and will link Port Klang to the integrated transport terminal in Gombak in Selangor, then to Bentong, Mentakab and Kuantan Port in Pahang; Kemaman, Kerteh and Kuala Terengganu in Terengganu; and Kota Bharu and Tumpat in Kelantan.

Picture Source: Malaysiakini

The new network will not only connect the less developed east coast cities to Selangor and Kuala Lumpur bringing in more trades, accessibility and opportunities, but it will also connect ports on the east and west coasts of Peninsular Malaysia, i.e Kuantan Port and Port Klang. The proponents of the project believe that the Kuantan-ECRL-Port Klang connection could alter regional trade route, with the new link enable exporters to bypass Singapore to reach to their respective destinations.

The Strait Times in its news report “Malaysia’s East Coast Rail Line touted as game changer” has given an interesting calculation based on the information from Malaysian government officials (see picture). It compares the cost of the route from Shenzhen to Port Klang via Kuantan Port and the ECRL and via Singapore and the Strait of Malacca. It was said that the Kuatan-ECRL option will take 135 hours at a cost of USD 56 per tonne of bulk cargo whereas Singapore-Strait of Malacca route will take 165 hours at a cost of USD 50 per tonne of bulk cargo.

The Kuantan-ECRL option is about 10% more expensive with a time saving of 30 hours. However, is the saving of 30 hours worth the additional cost in transport and the hassle of loading and unloading? We are also not sure if the shipping time given by the officers quoted here actually included the loading and unloading of the cargo, which will increase the travel time of this route option depending on the efficiency of the ports. The feasibility and practicality of the Kuantan-ECRL-Port Klang route to bypass Singapore deserve a deliberate study and a separate public discourse.

The ECRL’s Questionable Price Tag

In any case, the cost of the ECRL project will affect the price of the passengers’ train tickets as well as the cargo’s freight fees - the higher the project cost, the more expensive the train tickets and freight fees will be. When the prices of passenger train tickets and cargo transportation are not competitive as a result of bloated project cost, the ECRL will likely become under-utilised and become an expensive white elephant. Otherwise the government needs to subsidise it to keep the price competitive through tax payers’ monies. Either way the rakyat will eventually need to pay for it.