Govt stalls RM11.3 billion deal to consider RM18 billion option. Why?
Today, the Government was supposed to have signed a High Speed Broadband (HSBB) agreement with Telekom Malaysia to get us further into the Information superhighway. The project, to spread over 10 years, will involve a total investment of RM11.3 billion. Of that, RM8.9 billion was to come from TM and RM2.4 billion from the Government.
The signing ceremony did not happen. It was called off hastily last Friday after a group of businessmen from Pahang succeeded in drawing Putrajaya's attention to their RM18 billion proposal.
And so, the Cabinet Committee on Broadband, chaired by the DPM, will meet next Wednesday (Aug 20) to study the Pahang group's detailed proposal. The business pages have reported quite a bit on the news, and rightly so - the difference between the two proposals is a whopping RM6.7 billion! The blogs, however, have somehow ignored this development, perhaps because bloggers didn't think the Government will seriously listen to the Pahang group's sales pitch.
The usual way to take this kind of news is to tell yourself that maybe - just maybe - there are good reasons to consider the Pahang group's proposal, even though it's going to involve so much more money. Perhaps there serious defects in the TM's proposal? Perhaps with the RM18 billion proposal the Government does not have to cough up a single sen, eh?
If this was a case of giving all available options due consideration, why left it till the eleventh hour? Invitation cards for the signing ceremony had already been sent out, according to a news report. Foreign investors are already nervous about Malaysia; why give them another reason to go somewhere else to do business?
Personally, what nearly made me fall off my chair was the news that Pahang Menteri Besar Adnan Yaakob will lead the Pahang team (in his capacity as Pahang Technology Resources Sdn Bhd chairman) to present the RM18 billion proposal to Najib.
I mean, just look at his picture above. And please read my CCC 9 posting on the guy to understand my reservation.