CAMERON HIGHLANDS, Jan 21 — DAP’s Tony Pua today portrayed the Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government as the coalition that has Cameron Highlands residents’ best interest in mind, as straw polls show many voters there still favoured the Barisan Nasional (BN) which governs the state.
The political secretary to Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said critics had accused PH of being miserly with the government’s money, but he said the ruling federal coalition was being frugal so it could spend more to develop rural constituencies like the mountainous Pahang parliamentary seat.
“Some Opposition leaders questioned us that we didn’t do anything for the people in the rural area and we only bothered about reducing the cost of mega projects and suspending it, which has no effect for the people in the rural area like Cameron Highlands.
“Only through reducing the cost and suspending some giant projects, we can help develop the rural community. Instead of spending the money in the project we can spend them on the development in the rural area,” he told a news conference at the PH coalition’s election base in Brinchang here.
As example of PH’s money-saving methods, he cited Putrajaya’s revisions of the contract to build the second line for the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT2) project and the third line for the Light Rail Transit (LRT3) in the Klang Valley, and suspending the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur High Speed Rail (HSR) to prevent the country from falling further into debt, and unable to commit to developing the rural areas.
According to Pua, PH saved taxpayers RM8 million in MRT2, RM16 billion in LRT3 and RM100 billion in the HSR.
The Damansara MP also said that the PH federal government’s allocation for rural development and the Orang Asli community in Budget 2019 was about 51 per cent more than budgeted by the previous BN federal administration.
“The PH government is way better and has more potential in developing rural areas compared to the previous government.
“However, the government needs time to develop and repair the infrastructures and facilities in the rural development. We are sure that with the money we can save from the projects, rural areas can see many developments in the coming few months,” he said.