RM4.6b PKFZ scandal a major embarrassment for PM


You know that whole official fuss about the Negara ku rap video clip?

Well, my theory is that the official uproar was aimed at diverting attention and public disquiet away from several issues such as the rising cost of living, the trade unions’ popular campaign for a minimum wage, recent allegations of high-level corruption… and the fallout from the RM4.6 billion Port Klang Free Zone scandal.

It’s a classic ploy that never fails to work. Just ask a string of US presidents. If faced with a domestic problem, scandal or crisis that threatens to erode popular support for a leader, simply divert public attention away with an imaginary bogeyman – or, in the case of the US, launch yet another foreign war against a Saddam-like “monster”.

Remember how Abdullah Badawi pledged to stamp out corruption ahead of the 2004 general election? What is he going to promise now ahead of the next general election?

Everything that could go wrong with the PKFZ project appears to have gone wrong.

This is a piece I wrote for Asia Times on a scandal that has tarnished the image of the government.

Malaysian scandal tarnishes premier

Allegations of enormous cost overruns, corruption and cronyism at Malaysia’s ballyhooed Port Klang Free Zone are putting Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi’s previously graft-busting reputation to the test. His ruling party might have to come up with some new slogans for the upcoming general elections.
Full article: Malaysian scandal tarnishes premier

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