Friday, 19 July 2013

Asia Sentinel - Post-Election Payback Time in Malaysia

Mahathir backs moves to punish minorities and reward pro-government voters, companies

Last week, the Malaysian government announced its allocation of public university seats for the upcoming academic year.

Only 19 percent of Chinese students got places, along with 4 percent of Indians despite the fact that the two together make up about 30 percent of the student population.

Last year, Chinese students got 23 percent, in line with their proportion of the overall population.

That was the first tangible fallout from the 13th general election held on May 5, in which the Barisan Nasional, the ruling national coalition, won 133 of the 222 seats in the Dewan Rakyat, or Parliament, preserving its majority despite the fact that it only received 47.38 percent of the popular vote against 50.87 for the opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition headed by Anwar Ibrahim.

The second came yesterday with the revelation by Democratic Action Party National Publicity Chairman Tony Pua of the award of a RM1 billion (US$314 million) commuter railway project in the massive government-backed Iskandar development in the southern state of Johor to Metropolitan Commuter Network Sdn Bhd, a 60:40 joint venture between Malaysian Steel Works Sdn Bhd and KUB Malaysia Bhd, both of which are linked to UMNO, to build and operate a 100 km inter-city rail service in Johor.

According to an official with the company quoted in local media, Masteel will receive a 37-year build-own-transfer arrangement on the project despite the fact that it is slated to break even in 12 years.

Although Masteel says the project was a private sector initiative dating from 2008, it is inconceivable that it would have been granted without the imprimatur of the government.

Read the rest here: Post-Election Payback Time in Malaysia

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