Saturday, July 14, 2007

Oops. it was RM 2.7 billion!!

Oops, it seems that I was wrong in my previous blog. According to the article in TheStar today, we aren't borrowing US$ 500 million from China, we are borrowing US$ 800 million from them. Looks like the Penang Second Bridge is being entirely funded by the Chinese.

According to the article on Wikipedia, the cost of the bridge is estimated to be around RM 3 billion. With the current borrowings, China is funding 90% of the entire project cost. This reeks of something foul. This is also the level of borrowing someone can expect to get from a property loan from any bank in Malaysia.

Essentially, I read it as meaning that none of our local banks and companies are interested in funding any part of the bridge. So, the local government will foot the 10% down payment while China will loan us the balance 90%. There is no excuse why we cannot fund the bridge, unless something is up. It is considered a mega project but it won't be the first one that we funded locally. If the project is not viable, we shouldn't push on for it as it doesn't make any sense.

According to our Second Finance Minister, many countries were interested in building bridges with China but we're the now literally building a bridge with China. According to the Chinese Minister for Commerce, the Chinese Premier and our dearest Prime Minister had pushed for the project and this project is currently being fast-tracked for public usage by 2011.

I think think, and I just cannot understand what is happening. We're borrowing money to build a bridge that no one wants to fund. This deal was pushed by the leaders of both countries. I can understand why it is good for China as they would end up earning money from the interest. I cannot understand why we're going into this deal though.

So, all the calculations that I did, are now moot. Something stinks and I have nothing more to say. The bridge does look purr-ty doesn't it.

No comments: