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Friday June 27, 2008

Projects ‘will go on in good times’

THE Government had to defer several major projects slated under the 9th Malaysia Plan (9MP) because of the prevailing economic situation, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.

The Deputy Prime Minister said these would be continued when the situation improved.

“It’s not a question of punishing anyone,” he said at Parliament lobby after the tabling of the motion on the mid-term review of the 9MP by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi yesterday.

“When we review the projects, it doesn’t mean that they are cancelled. Essential projects will continue to be implemented, whether the state is run by Barisan Nasional or otherwise.”

Najib was asked about projects in Pakatan Rakyat-ruled states, such as the Penang Outer Ring Road and the Penang monorail, which cost more than RM3bil.

Asked whether these states could use their own methods to fund them, Najib said it would be subjected to the Federal Constitution.

“The states have to decide whether the development programmes are under the state or federal list. If they need to borrow funds, they will need Federal Government’s permission,” he said.

Najib said the overall ceiling figure for development allocation under the 9MP had been increased to RM230bil (from RM200bil) to cater to the rising cost of implementation, and also the need to finance basic necessities in Sabah and Sarawak.

He added that the increase was sourced from funds created from the recent restructuring of the fuel subsidies. “If the restructuring process had not been carried out, the national budget would have faced critical problems, and we needed to avoid that.”

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