RM55bn for East Coast rail line project… but 19% budget cut for public universities


Tucked away in the PM’s Budget 2017 speech was this nugget:

240. The Government is also committed to upgrade public transport in rural areas through the following measures:

First: Implementation of the new East Coast Rail Line project connecting Klang Valley to the East Coast,
in phases. The 600-km rail will connect townships such as Port Klang, ITT Gombak, Bentong, Mentakab,
Kuantan, Kemaman, Kerteh, Kuala Terengganu, Kota Bharu, and ends in Tumpat, with an estimated cost of RM55 billion;

A cool RM55bn.  Interesting that there are no qualms going for such a mega project at this time.

This comes at a time when the government also has no qualms about slashing the budget of public universites by almost 20 per cent!

The Malay Mail reports:

Public universities will see their combined operating budgets for 2017 slashed by about 19 per cent, or RM1.5 billion, a bigger cut than this year’s budget.

Out of the 20 public universities in Malaysia, 10 of them will be facing massive cuts ranging from over 10 per cent to over 31 per cent ― including many top-ranking institutions ― under Budget 2017 announced yesterday….

Taken as a whole, the budget for 20 universities’ combined operating expenditure in 2017 will be RM6.12 billion, which is a cut of RM1.46 billion or 19.23 per cent from the allocation of RM7.57 billion in 2016.

This comes as the Ministry of Higher Education’s total allocation for next year went down further to RM12.13 billion from RM13.38 billion for 2016, even as Putrajaya increased its overall budget to RM260.8 billion for 2017.

So much for the talk about becoming a high-income developed nation. 

Let’s get this straight: they are cutting the budget for higher education by over RM1.2bn BUT increasing the budget for BR1M by RM1.4bn (from RM5.4bn in 2016 to RM6.8bn)? 

If funding for public universities can be cut by so much in this and the previous budgets, I don’t know what else to say.

Back to the RM55bn East Coast rail project. In July 2016, Works Minister Fadillah Yusof denied Sarawak Report’s claim that the federal government wants to double the cost of the East Coast Rail Line project from RM30bn to RM60bn to pay off 1MDB debts.

Whatever…  we need to keep a close eye on this project just as we are also dissecting the controversial RM46-50bn Gamuda-led SRS Consortium proposal for Penang transport infrastructure (originally estimated at RM27bn) and the other billions on the KL MRT and other rail projects.

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Today’s forex: USD=RM4.4. Take a look at RM against other currencies RM1 = 8.04 Thai Bahts down from the normal rate of about 8.5 Thai Bahts.

The country is now led by a bunch of corrupted and selfish leaders, who pretended to show care for the people, but stealing billions from them.


The going could soon get tougher for the Malaysian ringgit, with an analyst from CIMB Investment Bank Bhd saying that the Malaysian currency could hit a low of RM4.80 to the US dollar. This, CIMB Investment analyst Ivy Ng said, was due to the lack of clarity on the new US administration’s policies, The Edge Markets reported. She added that the ringgit outlook was negative with the currency possibly hitting between RM4.50 and RN4.80 against the USD over the next three to six months.



Parti Amanah Negara’s (Amanah) Mahasiswa arm today criticised Malaysia’s generosity in sponsoring 10 million pounds (RM52 million) for the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OCIS) building in the UK while at the same time slashing funding for local varsities. This is on top of a RM12 million Malaysian sponsorship for the construction as well as interior decoration of OCIS’ auditorium. The sponsorship was announced by Malaysian High Commissioner to the UK Ahmad Rasidi Hazizi in conjunction with Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s visit to OCIS to deliver a keynote speech. Mahasiswa Amanah’s chairperson Ahmad Fadhli Umar Aminolhuda questioned the… Read more »

gk ong

Pakatan Harapan MPs questioned why Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd, a firm set up on Sept 26, 2016, with a paid-up capital of RM2, is a signatory in the Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Commissioning agreement with Chinese Communication Construction Company and China Communications Construction Company (M) Sdn Bhd, for the RM55 billion East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project.


From the PM to the Transport Minister, nobody knows the actual length of the rail track and the cost seem to even differ greatly. Are they using gold to build the tracks until it cost RM91.67M per kilometer? The inflated cost is purportedly to pay off debts incurred by companies related 1MDB. Its a loan that needs only be paid after 7 years and by than Najib and his (group) would have disappeared – from Malaysia to China(?)


Ketuanan Melayu has to borrow from Communist China for the East coast rail project. Chin Peng must be laughing in his grave! What a sell out by Ah Jib Kor who should shout out loud Apa Lagi Cina Mahu in Beijing.


Total national debt is 836.6 billion ringgit.

Total population is 30 million.

For every Malaysian from 0 to 150 years has to bear for the national debt of RM 27,887.


Hardy Heng

Household debt is going up in tandem with national debt, due to the bad role model of BN regime.


Ironically the nation now requiring rakyat to spend, spend and spend. More debt, debt and debt.

Patrick Choy

Nowadays most people buy things on credit or on installment plan. Enjoy now and worry later mentality.

gk ong

Malaysian household debt is now RM 1,056,000,000,000, 47% being home and car loans!

gk ong

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has said that debts accumulated by 1MDB are not considered government debts.

“Debts (accumulated) by 1MDB and their related projects are not classified as federal government debts.

“Therefore, debts accumulated by 1MDB and their related projects do not contribute to government debts,” said the finance minister.

Najib said this in a written parliamentary reply to Seputeh MP Teresa Kok, who had asked the finance minister to state the debt-to-GDP ratio for both 2015 and 2016, and also to state the debts contributed by 1MDB and related projects.

David Loman

If 1MDB’s debt is not considered government debts than why is anything and everything to do with 1MDB under OSA (Official Secrets Act)?

David Loman

According to China Press, the National debt is now RM655.745 billion
Equivalent to the market value of:
HSBC – RM634.2 billion
2x the wealth of Bill Gates – RM342.1 billion
8x Maybank – RM80.7 billion
14x the wealth of Robert Kuok – RM46.5 billion
97x Petronas twin tower – RM6.7 billion


Our leaders over the last 50 years did incur debt but these are private debts either source internally or externally but these are not link to a specific government or country. After the drop in our reputation and credibility in world financial market our PM turned to China to incur massive debts for a rail project that has no economic viability or strategic value. Now we are at a mercy of a foreign country. 1MDB has destroyed Malaysia is so many ways history will judge Najib and 1MDB as a beginning of our downfall. I would be embarrass if future… Read more »


najib has previosly sold out the tanjung pagar railway station in Singapore to the government of Singland. so he is just repeating such practices to get money from PRC China and may have to rename Bandar Malaysia to Bandar PRC in the process.

kim koon

Deepavali afternoon my family enjoy Sivaji The Boss movie on TV3, like how the hero with ‘Bachelor Of Social Service’ (BOSS) recovered the black money in India from the crooks and invested on Foundation to build hospitals and university for the poor. MIC should get the inspiration from such movie.

gk ong

MCA prefers the gangster style of Kabali?


Colonials from the other side of the world built basic infrastructure, at least where it suited them: roads, railways, jetties, bridges, (private) bus services, power plants, streetlights, school, hospitals, police stations. Today – 60 years after independence – it seems to be a struggle just to maintain these despite the tricks of “privatisation.” Natives still treck through jungles, take dangerous boat rides and even find their water sources destroyed. The only outside interest in them is to selectively “civilise” them in order to appropriate their forests and land. WM East coast people suffer floods and related diseases every year-end without… Read more »

Samuel J

What privatisation under BN when there are still 1.6 million civil servants?


Very TRUE of what you said.
The bottom line is GREED + Political Trading + Corruptions.
And the average fools who continue to believe in & applause for their political idols regardless of socio-economic dire consequences of the acts of these politicians & corporate criminals / indifferent.
Here in Malaysia, a massive awakening will take some time unlike the ones in Brazil, Europe & Britain.
Until some decide it’s time to take action. It will be too late for reconciliation.

Johan Khun Pana

True to his words. He did mentioned that he does not need smart people . He prefer to be surrounded by the not too smart & loyalist. Education is not important , as it is NOT a criteria to secure an entry into heaven. Am sure those who are ” se-waktu dengan-nya ” are nodding with their blessing. Furthermore with PERMATA , we already have very smart 6 years old. As for the rail contract with the Chinese company , the approximated cost is (allegedly) clearly listed to be below 30 billions. Only those “se-waktu dengan-nya will ber-setuju and go… Read more »

Samuel J

I notice most Malay undergraduates are female.
Most of them likely end up as housewives after getting married. At least they could help economy first by selling cheap nasi leak to poor folks before becoming full time housewives.


Are you still singing P. Ramlee’s era?
Today’s Malay lady graduates are more outspoken & better independent than what you imagined.
Go to USM convocation to see for yourself!
Ending as housewives depends on the husband + wife understanding, more so in this era of dual income for sustaining a household.


However outspoken the female graduates may be, (many) will still have to be submissive to their Muslim husbands to tend to household chores and raising kids at home.

Hardy Heng

Heard of the ‘P Ramly’ burger controversy?


With Budget Cuts, this unrealistic REDHA Pg Branch is urging us to spend more (on high priced ticket items) & invest on no-taker properties for the unfathomable future in Malaysia! Property purchases deemed as good debts during tough times, says Rehda Penang https://sg.news.yahoo.com/property-purchases-deemed-good-debts-141145134.html One comment: Farid Do not trust a word from the losers! They (developers) are feeling the pinch after overcharging the people with DIBS. This is the biggest cartel in Malaysia. If you do not have money, better rent or stay at your parents’ houses. May I add: PM urged (short of pleading) Malaysians to eat / dine… Read more »

David Loman

Press Statement by Penang Institute George Town, 21 October 2016 Dr Lim Kim-Hwa, Chief Executive Officer and Head of Economics Studies Mr Tim NiklasSchoepp, Chief Operating Officer and Visiting Analyst (Economics Studies) Dr NeginVaghefi, Senior Analyst, Economics Studies Ms Ong WooiLeng, Senior Analyst, Economics Studies The 2017 Budget was announced today by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri NajibTunRazak. We wish to highlight 2 points. More detailed analysis will be released in due course. Firstly, the 2017 budget deficit is expected to hit 3% of GDP vs. 3.1% 2016. Nevertheless, a balanced budget is unlikely to be achievable in the foreseeable… Read more »


It will not be surprising in the nearest future, we may most likely witness more civil servants declaring bankrupt at an increasing ratio of all bankrupts in Malaysia.
Just blame the Nasi Lemak financial guru in Putrajaya.
Computer & motorcycle dealers who give offer instalments, pls take note!

Ho Say Leow

Nasi Lemak now talk of town. Maybe unemployable graduates can start global franchise businesses to put Msia in the forefront. Perhaps those Permata brainchilds can have talents in nasi penal business to raise university rankings?


Hardy Heng

The country is now depending on rakyat consumption to spend, spend and spend to boost the GDP, at least that is the intent of the loan provided by budget for civil servants to buy smartphones. Smart people do not need to upgrade smartphones regularly – use your brain and do not depend too much on Apps! Have you read a report how many hours of wages (by countries) are required to buy the latest iPhone 7? The number is shocking for Malaysia. Yet many would not mind spending big to be stylish (gaya mesti ada mentality) to be seen with… Read more »

Phua Kai Lit

In normal countries, inability of university graduates to find work in the formal sector
(thus being forced to work in the informal, hawker and petty trading, sector) is regarded as a bad sign.

In 1Malaysia, it is a GOOD THING — university graduates have become more
entrepreneurial !


Rahman Dahlan: Blacklist companies supporting Bersih
Think before you open your big Jaguh mouth! RD.
Think for an hour from where your salary actually, legally comes from.
From Arab Donors or from Malaysian tax payers many of whom are huge tax paying corporations.


Guan Eng: No ‘blacklists’ of companies in Penang, show proof if any

Jangan-jangan buat fitna tanpa bukti!
Kalau mahu buat jahat.


Sounds bad? It’s nothing compared to what will actually come AFTER he wins GE. The big one is HEALTHCARE. National compulsory medical insurance that will raise TENS EVENTUALLY HUNDREDS of billions for him to borrow and spend.

David Loman

Overheard a group of disgruntled taxi drivers at a coffee shop today complaining that Najib is giving RM5000 incentives for unemployed graduates to buy Proton Iriz, so to become Uber drivers to compete with existing taxis.


No need so much to fund the tertiary education sector, as Rosmah has proven to UN that Permata program have given young Malaysian kids a good foundation in education. So Permata gets RM95 million funding from Najib.


We as a nation spent so much rakyat money on the Anak Dara Siti’s education to become an engineer, and she ends up selling nasi lemak! Nothing against selling nasi lemak, an honest living, but isn’t she under-employed? Couldn’t her engineering education be put to better use? Has our Government policies failed her and our Country? Are tax payers’ money wasted?

If we are middle class like PM said, why is he asking us to nasi lemak to cut spending? He should have asked himself why the local graduates could not get decent jobs with their qualifications.


Eating Nasi Lemak 3 meals a day? Just to save cost & barely get thro’ in life? And maybe/most probably get diabetes for following that ill advice (after Kang Kong financial solution)? You be the nutritional judge by reading this: Is nasi lemak really a healthy dish? http://www.thejakartapost.com/life/2016/04/04/is-nasi-lemak-really-a-healthy-dish.html Another note on graduates: If that Anak Dara fails (in life) to get a job befitting her qualification, that is an absolute waste of opportunity costs of tertiary education for more deserving + more talented non-bumi talents who b’cos of kia su quota & surreal CGPA fails to get into a local… Read more »

Ho Say Leow

Go try Giant’s Uncle Jack Nasi Kenai + kopi o during breakfast hour for just RM1.50. Then tahpau (buy home) for lunch and dinner, so daily food meals cost less than RM5, one month RM135, 1 year RM1620 minus M01BR1M RM1200 just need to work to pay balance RM420 for a year.

Anil can be exception as more well off, choice of VelooVilla, Syed Bistro or Madam Priya curry meals at the so-called curryhouse triangle near Spice.


Anil, you can try Bukit Gedung (Malay) foodcourt (Persiaran Mayang Pasir) where you can get cheap Fried Rice & affordable Kopi-O & other Malay cuisine. Comes Raya Puasa month, there will be food stores lining outside the foodcourt selling cheap food from 5pm – 7.30pm daily.
Give it a try.
Don’t ask me abt Nasi Lemak. It reminds me of that Low IQ Kang Kong Financial Guru @ Putrajaya.

Albert Yee

The long list of IPTAs in are meant mainly for bumiputera. My son could not get into the course of choice despite better results due to the racial quota system. He has chosen to study in NUS and has since graduated, now residing and working in Singapore as a PR. It is a blessing in disguise after all as he is now earning Singapore dollar, and is able to buy condominium in Penang upon his retirement later. So I do not have sympathy for those bumiputera graduates who could not find job, as the BN government will continue to take… Read more »


Quote: BN government will continue to take care of them with civil service jobs. This is a perennial problem for the Nation in 2 ways: 1) The university quotas for churning a set target of bumi-graduates to fill up public sector jobs mean many non-bumi Malaysian talents have to ‘sacrifice’ as sacrificial lambs of limited uni-placing for this never-ending NEP policy till Kingdom comes! 2) Tax payers’ blood, sweat & tears monies are continuously channeled to ‘feed’ these private sector unemployables employed in public sector till they ‘pension’ & continuously enjoy stress-free life (as when working in gomen & GLC… Read more »

gk ong

TN = Tunnel.
So TN50 is a tunnel vision?


no surprise gilakan bn gomen offer nons a public uni to do a course non of their choice. a friend was offer a science course in zoology which was none listed as his choice. cunning scheme.


Many non Malays share the same sentiments as Albert.
The kids are made to study BM as a compulsory subject, which is of little value once you are not given a place in IPTA. Therefore many are opting to enrol their children for Chinese independent schools to sit for UEC, with Singapore, Taiwan or China as the destination for tertiary education.
The fact that IPTAs are too inclined towards a certain religious study and its tamadun has put off many.


(Is it) very likely that some fund from the budget (allegedly) being secretly diverted for BN election fund, to buy 1Msia caps, t-shirts, rice, bicycles etc for distribution as dedak to the kampung folks in exchange for votes(?)

Ho Say Leow

Budget cut and sports likely very less development fund as well.
Btw, Penang stays on in Liga M super league thanks to 88th minute goal to secure victory to remain in more lucrative league and not get relegated. Niaokong may seek Ivory, Hunza, Ideal etc properties folks to get the fund to refurbish City Stadium and get good quality foreign players to remain competitive?


Just because nowadays many of the students do not obey the “instruction from Umno” ?

Alawiyah Yussof

with a mission to win Kelantan and retain Terengganu.


It’s all about gaining support in the short run for BeeEnd this coming GE14. And possibly (allegedly) getting more diversion channel$$$ from infrastructural Satu Lagi Projek (East Coast rail line) which can help pay off 1MDB debts. What long term vision has this gomen for the Rakyat? Nil & more miserable life on the way. ‘Transformasi Nasional 2050 or TN50 sounds more like a ‘time bomb’ (metaphorically speaking)? And this PM has the bile to tell M’sians to spend less on food (which is essential for the brains) while someone has the propensity to continue buying Birkin handbags without a… Read more »


TN50 is a way to tell you that Malaysia has failed the achieve Wawasan 2020.
Perhaps Ah Jib does not share the same vision of Tun M?
Or Umno is seeking another 50 years of mandate to achieve high income nation, free from BR1M?


Also another 50 yrs of NEP policies in another disguise?
Better to advice & mould my children to seek greener pastures beyond the shores of Tanah Air Cinta Ku Tak Ada Harapan!


Najib has said he has a more updated vision than the retired politician.
Umno is trying to justify another 30 years of existence.
The next GE will see if rakyat will give the mandate to Najib after swallowing the dedak.

Sos Cili

Penjual Nasi Lemak Anak Dara & Kaitannya Dengan Keadaan Ekonomi Negara – Ulasan YG Anda Mesti Baca. http://sozcyili.blogspot.sg/2016/10/penjual-nasi-lemak-anak-dara-kaitannya.html Bilangan penjaja sudah tentu bertambah apabila ekonomi tidak baik, kerana mereka cuba mencari pendapatan tambahan. Usahlah kita mempercayai dakwaan Pak Menteri bahawa betapa pesatnya ekonomi Malaysia membangun, apabila kita mendapati semakin banyak gerai nasi lemak di tepi jalan. Apabila penjaja nasi lemak semakin bertambah (maknanya ekonomi menjunam), keluarga yang menjamu selera di restoran ketika ekonomi melonjak kini pula menanam sayur dan mengisi perut dengan masakan sendiri di rumah. Secara logiknya, bagaimana penjaja nasi lemak yang baru memulakan perniagaan ini mendapat rezeki, sedangkan… Read more »

gk ong

20 local universities! >1 per state.
Now everyone (at least bumiputers) can get a degree! Most will end up as civil servants.
Do the universities pay well to attract good lecturers?
Thus budget has allocated 81% for governmental expenses, leaving only 19% for development.
Focus is on immediate gains ie GE14, not long term benefits.

Ho Say Leow

According to Astro Awani budget postmortem last night, many local young graduates still unemployed or unemployable due to mismatch with market needs, and some have to be absorbed by government. At public sectors, many graduates are employed as clerks – still better as near future we may export graduates as domestic helpers in Saudi Arabia for example.


No need to have so many local graduates only for them to sell nasi lemak eventually? SHAH ALAM, Oct 23 — Siti Hajjar Ahmad, 24, never dreamt that her little nasi lemak business would make it into national news, let alone receive the endorsement of Datuk Seri Najib Razak. But that was exactly what happened when her Nasi Lemak Anak Dara, was mentioned by the prime minister when he tabled Budget 2017 in Parliament on Friday. Najib said Siti Hajjar was an example of a graduate who took a big leap, with her education background in electronic engineering, to be… Read more »