Ex-premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad likened the sale of RM1.7 billion Maju Expressway to the selling of approved permits. He said that the sale of MEX appears to be an exercise of making profit at the expense of government's assistance. The highway was built using almost RM976 million of government grant.
EP Manufacturing Bhd (EPMB), an automotive parts maker, had entered into an acquisition agreement with Maju Holdings to acquire MEX for RM1.15 billion and assume debts totaling RM550 million, which will value the deal at RM1.7 billion. Maju's boss Abu Sahid Mohamed is expected to make a cool RM600 million++.
Mahathir is upset with the deal. However, the ex-strongman should be reminded that he was the creator of these problems. Mahathir had created a generation of leaders, businessmen and followers who are dependent on government's largess and handouts. However, these handouts are getting bigger by the year.
The total amount of grants and subsidies given out to cronies and businessmen linked to the government, often in the the name of NEP and national interest, should have exceeded billions. How much more can the government afford? How much more before this country is going to hit its financial limit and risk of becoming insolvent?
As a result, this government is helping to create a very unhealthy culture. It has created a generation of Malaysians who are unappreciative of government's help and assistance. Abu Said Mohamed should be made to pay back the grant amounting to almost a billion ringgit. This money belongs to the people.
It is pertinent for Barisan Nasional to not only fix this culture of ungratefulness and free loading, it should fix its broken political and governance system. Barisan Nasional is not only a broken coalition but it is also unable to reverse its slide into a slippery political oblivion.
Without fixing its political culture which promotes and uses patronage, grants, money and titles it will reach a point of total breakdown. When this happens, the coalition will be consumed and destroyed by its own follies.
The sale of Maju expressway is yet another proof that Umno has changed very little. Public accountability is still not in the party's vocabulary.
The inability or unwillingness of other component parties to help persuade Umno to change is going to sign their own death warrant in the next general election.
If Mahathir says MEX sale is bad, it should stink sky high!