Jul 26, 2008 By M. Husairy Othman
OF late, the Pakatan Rakyat-led Perak government has been going round trumpeting its success in attracting billions of ringgit worth of investments within months of being in power.
However, while all this might seem rosy to the public, the facts and investment figures simply do not add up.
With contradicting statements from the state government's top leadership, one can clearly see the lack of direction and miscommunication amo-ng them.
Last Sunday, Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin proudly announced in Kuala Terengganu that the state expects to receive investments worth RM16 billion over the next two or three years compared with only RM770 million the previous year.
He had attributed this to investors' confidence in the new state government.
Education, Local Government, Housing and Public Transport Committee chairman Nga Kor Ming gave an even more impressive figure.
He said the new government was considering investments valued at some RM21.8 billion, including RM16 billion from Qatar's Gulf Petroleum and RM1.5 billion from First Solar Incorporation of the United States.
All this, he said, was proposed to the state during the first two months of the new coalition's administration.
While the uninitiated might see this as proof of the new state government's determination to develop the state, those in the know are seeing red over the whole matter.
"They are taking credit for the work of others. Gulf Petroleum had already shown interest to invest in Perak when Barisan Nasional was in power and after BN lost in the general election, the company had wanted to pull out," said former exco member Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir.
And when hounded by reporters whether the Gulf Petroleum investment was the same as announced by the previous government, senior exco member Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham was extremely careful with his choice of words.
Instead of a simple yes or no, his answer was: "The Qatar-based oil company wanted to withdraw its investment but the state government managed to persuade them to stay on."
To top it all off, Industrial Development Committee chairman Tai Sing Ng, when interviewed two days ago, seemed to be in the dark over the huge investment claims made by his colleagues.
"This must remain a secret so that other states do not pinch the investors."
For the record, former menteri besar Datuk Seri Mohd Tajol Rosli Ghazali had announced plans for the project at the end of last year.
And unless the art of persuasion can be considered as inking deals with investors, the state government should perhaps refrain from taking credit for deals secured by the previous administration.
Every level-headed person knows full well that it is virtually impossible to secure multi-billion ringgit deals within two months of forming the state government.
The Pakatan Rakyat state government must give credit when its due even if it means acknowledging the success of the previous state government.