MALACCA: The Melaka Gateway project is neither debt-laden, nor does it put the nation’s sovereignty at stake, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.
Addressing about 10,000 civil servants at the Malacca International Trade Centre here yesterday, Najib said the project was purely driven by foreign direct investment (FDI).
“Tun Dr Mahathir (Mohamad) said the project could lead us to lose our sovereignty and increase the country’s debt.
“Since when does FDI cause us to lose our sovereignty? We (the Government) will always defend Malaysia’s sovereignty,” he said.
Najib said Melaka Gateway was a private initiative comprising mixed development on four artificial islands here and did not involve loans or incur additional debts.
On Sept 1 last year, Melaka Gateway master developer KAJ Development Sdn Bhd signed a memorandum of agreement with Powerchina International Group Ltd for a RM30bil joint investment to build and develop the islands, which are earmarked for various tourism, commercial, property and maritime developments.
Najib said the project was not built on land acquired from the people, but on reclaimed land.
“Singapore reclaims land and sells it to the people. Dubai does the same. In Dubai, even the desert can become the greatest metropolis in the world. Why can’t Malacca have a project aimed at ensuring the well-being of Malaysians and the state?” he asked.
Earlier, Najib called upon civil servants here to strengthen their spirit of loyalty and camaraderie.
He said history has it that the downfall of the Malacca Sultanate was due to cracks in the unity among palace officials.
Najib also touched on the 2013 incident in Lahad Datu when disloyalty cost the lives of eight policemen.
“It happened because one of their colleagues leaked information to the intruders, who then ambushed the police when they arrived (at the scene).
The Prime Minister also officiated the opening of the state-of-the-art Tun Abdul Razak Rehabilitation Centre at Bandar Hijau in Ayer Keroh.
He said the Social Security Organisation’s (Socso) cutting-edge centre was a gift to all employees for their hard work in building the nation.
“This RM238mil centre can provide a lifeline to injured employees. It can cater for the needs of 350 individuals at a time.
“I am impressed with the facilities available at the centre. It’s a milestone achievement for Socso since its inception in 1971,” he said in his speech at the opening.
Also at the opening were Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron and Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot.
Najib said the centre also debunks critics’ claim that the nation is on the brink of bankruptcy.
“This facility, touted as the first of its kind in South-East Asia, integrates medical and vocational rehabilitation,” he said.
The centre provides comprehensive rehabilitation packages including robotic therapy, hydrotherapy and vocational training as well as audiometry and optometry facilities.
Since 2014, 1,485 workers have undergone rehabilitation and 986 have returned to work.