Disclose more on proposed LRT system, Chong urges Abg Jo

KUCHING: State Democratic Action Party (DAP) wants Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg to tell Sarawakians more than just saying that his proposed Light Rail Transit (LRT) system may be operational in 10 years’ time.
Its chairman Chong Chieng Jen said the chief minister had once again avoided touching on the central issues about the proposed LRT system by merely mentioning that it might be operational by 2028.
He stressed the chief minister ought to tell Sarawakians the estimated cost of implementing the proposed project.
“What is his estimated cost of construction of the proposed LRT system? Given that Abang Johari intends to finance the cost of construction with the state’s money and not seeking any federal funding,” he said at a news conference here yesterday.
Chong, who is Bandar Kuching MP and Kota Sentosa assemblyman, asserted that the chief minister “owes it to Sarawakians a full disclosure of the cost of construction”.
According to the opposition leader, the proposed LRT project should cost RM25 billion if one takes the cost of constructing the LRT in Peninsular Malaysia as a benchmark.
“We are talking about RM25 billion, not including the rate of inflation if the project continues a few years later.”
He said Abang Johari ought to inform Sarawakians of the estimated ridership of the proposed LRT system.
Besides that, he added, the chief minister should also tell Sarawakians whether the estimated revenue generated from his proposed LRT system would be enough to cover the cost of operation.
“These questions are central to all infrastructure projects. I urge him (Abang Johari) to be truthful to all Sarawakians as it is our money that he is going to use to finance this colossal project,” stressed Chong.
He cautioned that the proposed LRT system, if implemented using the state’s coffers, “might wipe out our state revenue”.
Last Dec 28, Chong had posed similar questions to Abang Johari following the chief minister’s critique over DAP for undermining his LRT plan for Sarawak.
On Dec 23, Abang Johari called DAP ‘paloi’ (stupid) for rejecting the LRT project, adding that the state had a new business model to implement the plan.
And last Saturday, Abang Johari said Sarawak could expect its own LRT system to be up and running in 10 years’ time.
“I estimate in 10 years, we will do it. Our trams will be different from the trams in (other parts of) Malaysia,” he said.
On Theborneopost  January 16, 2018, Tuesday