Over RM100 million spent by Federal govt for 50th Merdeka anniversary celebrations


The Federal Government has budgetted over RM100 million for the 50th Merdeka anniversary celebrations.

This was finally admitted by the Deputy Finance Minister, Datuk Dr. Awang Adek this evening during the winding-up of the two-day policy debate on the 2007 Supplementary estimates.

At first Awang said the original estimates for the 50th Merdeka Anniversary celebrations under the Prime Minister’s Department was RM74 million, and with the additional supplementary vote of RM18.25 million requested, making up a total of RM93 million. The government spent RM38 million for the Merdeka anniversary in 2006 and RM35 million in 2005.

He said the expenditure of RM93 million for the 50th Merdeka anniversary celebrations were proper and justified once in 50 years and in creating a sense of national unity for the occasion, which was priceless.

Seeking clarification, I asked firstly, whether these are the “final” and “absolute” figures or whether there would be other expenditures for the 50th Merdeka anniversary celebrations which would come before Parliament in future supplementary estimates.

Secondly, I pointed out that in the 2007 supplementary estimates there were at least two other items of specific expenditures for the 50th Merdeka anniversry celebrations in other minisries, viz RM7.2 million for all parliamentary constituencies for the 50th Merdeka anniversary under the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage and RM8 million under the Ministry of Youth and Sports for Youth Day programme in connection with the 50th Merdeka anniversary.

I asked for the ‘grand total” of all expenditures for all Ministries in connection with the 50th Merdeka annivesary celebrations and not just the allocations for the Prime Minsiter’s Department.

In his reply, Awang admitted that there were other items of expenditures outside the Prime Minister’s Department like the RM7.2 million figure (he did not touch on the RM8 million item) which would bring the total to RM100 million. He said he could not give a categorical answer that there would not be other figures but as far as he knew these were the substantial sums, and if there were other items they would not be major ones.

He said with 26 million population, the RM100 million tag worked out to about RM3 or RM4 per person once in 50 years, symbolising the peace, harmony and welfare enjoyed by the people.

When I asked for the major heads of expenditures, Awang gave the following breakdowns:

(i) August 17 Launch of Merdeka Anniversary celebrations and raising the Jalur Gemilang (Malacca) – RM3 million
(ii) August 30 Ambang Merdeka (Dataran Merdeka, KL) – RM8.2 million
(iii) August 31 Merdeka Parade (Dataran Merdeka, KL) – RM26 million
(iv) August 31 Merdeka Tea Party – RM1,000
(v) August 31 Massive Merdeka Celebrations (Merdeka Stadium, KL) RM17 million
(vi) Sept. 10 Close of Merdeka anniversary celebrations (Kuching) RM4 million
(vii) Flying Jalur Gemilang RM8.5 million

  1. #1 by anakbaram on Tuesday, 4 September 2007 - 11:35 pm

    What a waste!!! A total lack of rationality and good judgment!!! There are so many areas where that money could be used to end long and real needs but they choose to squander it. What about the infrastructure in Sarawak which in most cases are totally absent? Why couldn’t they use that money there? Sick Sick People.

  2. #2 by anakbaram on Tuesday, 4 September 2007 - 11:40 pm

    Most parts of rural Sarawak do not have water supply, road access or any other access. No telephone. No electricity. No clinic or hospital. Do not throw good money after a foolish nothingness. Why do some people continue feasting and celebrating while others are starving? Especially when that money the use to feast on belongs to the hungry as much as it is theirs?

  3. #3 by devilmaster on Tuesday, 4 September 2007 - 11:41 pm

    The 2007 Merdeka celebrations might be their last chance of taking the money from the coffers before they face the coming General Election. “Sapu” while you can before going to the battlefield. You might not know what will happen during the battle.

  4. #4 by smeagroo on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 12:06 am

    Rm100mil spent yet I dont feel anything. Has Merdeka passed by us? BUt dont worry, come 2013 we will be yet again celebrate our 50th birthday and those scums will boldly say sorry and they shld be mindful of Sabah n Sarawak. 2013 pls budget at least rm200million.

    Flying Jalur Gemilang rm8million? Who fly? U mean we hv to pay Kjew rm8mil to hoist the flag? If the flags costs RM20 each, i dont think there were 400000 flags in Msia been put up.

  5. #5 by smeagroo on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 12:08 am

    And didnt i mention b4 that security alone costs a bomb! And who got the contracts? Cronies!

  6. #6 by raven77 on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 12:16 am

    Russian town mayor fights inefficiency by banning bureaucrats from saying ‘I don’t know’

    MOSCOW (AP) – The mayor of a Siberian oil town has ordered his bureaucrats to stop using expressions such as “I don’t know” and “I can’t.” Or look for another job.

    Alexander Kuzmin, the 33-year-old mayor of a town called Megion, has banned these and 25 other phrases as a way to make his administration more efficient, his spokeswoman said Tuesday.

    “It’s a suggestion to the staff that they should think before saying something,” Oksana Shestakova said by telephone. “To say `I don’t know’ is the same as admitting your helplessness.”

    To reinforce the ban, a framed list of the banned expressions has been hanging on the wall next to Kuzmin’s office for the past two weeks, Shestakova said.

    Some of the other prohibited phrases are “What can we do?,” “It’s not my job,” “It’s impossible,” “I’m having lunch,” “There is no money,” “I was away/sick/on vacation.”

    Kuzmin, a businessman who was elected mayor 1{ years ago, wants to “shake things up” in Megion, a town of 54,000 in the Khanty-Mansiisk region, the spokeswoman said.

    The region, located some 2,300 kilometers (1,500 miles) northeast of Moscow, produces more oil than the rest of Russia combined. As world oil prices have risen sharply in recent years, the region has flourished, and in stark contrast to the rest of the country its population has grown at the rapid rate of more than 7 percent annually.

    But construction has not kept pace, and the lack of adequate housing is one of the town’s most serious problems, Shestakova said.

    “Town authorities are there to make town residents’ life comfortable and prosperous,” Kuzmin, a trained oil engineer who studied business administration in Canada, said in a statement posted on the town Web site. “Town officials must work out mechanisms to solve and remove problems, not to avoid them.”

    Officials who disobey the ban while in the mayor’s office “will near the moment of their departure,” the statement said.

    Providing the mayor with wrong or incomplete information, or being late in reporting important information will be considered an attempt to undermine his work, it said. Anna Borovikova, the mayor’s chief of staff, said the novel approach has improved discipline.

    “Before, it was so easy to say `I don’t know.’ Now before reporting to the mayor we prepare several proposals on how one or another problem can be solved,” Borovikova said.

    At first it was hard to remember not to use the banned expressions, she said, and they “slipped in sometimes.” – AP

  7. #7 by Godfather on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 12:19 am

    The catering went to the Badawi family, except for satay which went to Zakaria of Klang. The security went to Putera UMNO who supplied the mat rempits. The fireworks went to the IGP Musa Hassan’s C4 specialists. The accomodation went to kalimullah’s Tune Hotels. The connecting flights went to AirAsia.

    MIC was too pre-occupied with Maika to make any demands. MCA’s Chan Kong Choy was on MC. Tough luck, UMNO’s coalition partners.

  8. #8 by takazawa on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 12:32 am

    Could the lavish 50th Merdeka expenditures be another election budget? Oh, by the way, Budget 2008 is just around the corner. I believe BN is going to turn on all the taps full blast on critical areas while gearing themselves up for the upcoming GE.

  9. #9 by takazawa on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 12:50 am

    In addition to anakbaram’s comment, I would like to quote a Chinese proverb which goes like this: 正所謂 “朱門酒肉臭﹐路有凍死骨”。The literal meaning of it is that the filthy rich have abundant supplies of meat so much so that all of them have become putrified; whereas those hardcore poor living in the streets have nothing at all to eat till the extent that they have become bones. Such is the gap size between the haves and haves not.

  10. #10 by takazawa on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 12:56 am

    One more thing to add here. Such is the disparity between the haves and haves not we see in Bolehland. Thanks to the NEP drug which has paralyzed the Rakyat and plundered the country of its resources through corruption, nepotism, and cronysm.

  11. #11 by tunglang on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 1:06 am

    Over RM100 million spent on 50th Merdeka ‘Bash’, My God!!!
    Where they got this kind of money? Divide over 50 years, this work out to RM2 million per year!
    I’m now wondering how much gomen is going to splurge this coming GE. Divide over 5 years, hmmm… make your guest.
    Guys, why pay tax for what?

  12. #12 by izrafeil on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 2:10 am

    alhamdullilah, selepas ini Barisan Alternative menang, dan akan stop wasting tax payers money, biarkanlah ini satu pembaziran akhir BN

  13. #13 by Justicewanted on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 4:59 am

    The total of the breakdown is only RM66.7million. How about the balance of RM33.6million?

    How much each state spent on the merdeka celebration?

  14. #14 by ADAM YONG IBNI ABDULLAH on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 5:03 am

    RM100 MILLION SPENT ON MERDEKA CELEBRATION is a figure that many ordinary raayat can never fanthom.

    i really cannot figure out, HOW AND WHY the government had spent such a sum , on a celebration that is termed patriotic.

    one hundred million could have served better to all her 26 million citizens , and more meaningful if we look inward and potray a genuine act of charity .

    this is LAVISH SPENDING without accountabilty.

    this is LAVISH SPENDING without considerations of ALL MALAYSIAN.

    this is LAVISH SPENDING of the raayat ‘s money.

    our fore fathers will turn in their graves , and the founding fathers walked out off their graves to know of this extravagant sum.

    we used to have first class infrastructures and third class mentality. NOW, WE HAVE GOLDEN CLASS CELEBRATIONS of all kinds.

    it will not be long , we can start printing more ringgit daily to keep up with the expenses.

    a fool and his money will surely part.
    but a fool using others money is a con.

    i am depressed. i dont feel good at all.

  15. #15 by Justicewanted on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 5:32 am

    Spent RM100million on this year merdeka celebration????

    Just what a waste.

    Just wonder how much was spent on the actual Merdeka in 1957 ???????

  16. #16 by greatstuff on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 5:46 am

    “symbolising the peace, harmony, and welfare – (enjoyed by the B.N.)”
    Wasn’t that what Datuk DR. Awang Adek meant in his response to the questions by LKS ??

  17. #17 by lbn on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 5:51 am

    Abuse of power of the authority is a norm here in Malaysia. Where I stay, the MPSJ is wasting rates payers money with projects, most of which are of no benefits to the community. This is exactly the same with the Central Govenment. Leadership by example. What can we do?

  18. #18 by cabby mabok on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 6:19 am

    This government is damn corrupted and you just have to compare our neighbor who display a more elaborated national day celebration display and mind you their total budget is not even 10% what we spend. Further more our per capital income is 6 time less than our neighbor and this further shows the level of corruption. This government is making the country Bolehland to Bodohland to Burokland to Busokland, without the oil money this country is soon to be Zimbabwe of the East.

  19. #19 by APKINGS on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 6:55 am

    Awang should tell the truth of 99million spent for their PRIVATE Parties and only 1 million for the RAKYAT.

    Why spent 100 million for a show, in fact we should spent it for welfare and better infrastructure.

    Really a “RON-MO”

  20. #20 by sotong on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 7:30 am

    As usual, they need to spend a lot so that some politically connected people will make easy and big money out of it – just like the mega projects that are unproductive, wasteful and unnecessary.

    This government is extremely irresponsible and unaccountable in handling the hardworking taxpayers money…..when is this going to stop before we have to sell the country to foreigners.

  21. #21 by Jeffrey on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 7:39 am

    A price tag of RM100 million for the 50th Merdeka anniversary celebrations is, by all copunts, ‘lavish’ spending, but to the BN why not especially when, at RM3 or 4 per head, it could reasonably be “justified once in 50 years …. in creating a sense of national unity for the occasion, which was priceless” as Datuk Dr. Awang Adek argued. (Whether it has really succeeded in creating the priceless sense of national unity for the occasion proportionate to the amount of spending expended is, of course, moot).

    Sure, some politicians or cronies would have made some money from such spending (as would invariably happen) but spread between all, it is really peanuts, and not the main focus or objective of such lavish spending. This is obvious because when these guys want to make money, they don’t think in terms of RM100 million (where 10 or 20% is only RM10 or 20 million) shared between so many people from various ministries but in billions! A measure of what they think may be surmised from RM4.6 billion involved in Port Klang Free Zone (PFZ).

    What Awang Adek said is true – that the main object of such lavish spending is to attempt creating a greater sense of patriotism (what he termed euphemistically as ‘national unity’) amongst Malaysians, who more than ever are divided along race and religious fault lines, with the view that when electorate are rallied or united by the government for a common purpose of love and loyalty for the country, such a sense of patriotism would, in turn, translate to votes benefiting the ruling coalition that rallied it!

    What needs to be emphasized is that patriotism is not sought after here for its own sake or for the sake purely of the unity of Malaysians (how else can one explain the divisive policies such as Bumiputra/Non Bumiputra dichotomy, downplay of ‘Bangsa Malaysia’ and Declaration of the Islamic State in place?) but only to the extent that such call for it is expedient to garner votes for a very imminent election.

    Patriotism – the sense of love and loyalty for one’s country – then has both the good and bad facets.

    The good part when it is genuinely subsisting amongst the diverse populace is that it would unite people of different races, religions and cultures under a common cause and bond to work for the better of the country for all.

    The bad part is when it is exploited by those in power solely for their own selfish ends to maintain or expand power.

    Which is why some like Dr. Johnson would describe it as the last refuge of scoundrels as the ruins and devastation in history were also carried out under its banner to justify wholesale murderers : for example, Adolf Hitler rallied the Germans in the name of patriotism for the fatherland to conquer Europe and perpetrate the holocaust against 6 million Jews.

    A less dramatic example in the local context is TDM’s clarion call for “Malaysia Boleh” by which we must have the biggest and tallest of every megastructure (Twin Tower, KLIA etc) straining the national coffers for motives that I need not elaborate here.

  22. #22 by sotong on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 8:16 am

    This government had lost its plot long ago…..its survival and reluctant to change with major and radical reform will cause more suffering to the country and her ordinary people.

    This presents a great opportunity for some people to think day and night to exploit the decades of bad leadership and governance of the country to enrich themselves, in particular those in the position of power and influence.

  23. #23 by hang tuah on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 9:38 am

    in the morning of merdeka, bolehland has produced another 100 glokal millionaires laughing to the bank.

    to those suckers who voted the ruling, there goes the tax payer money wasted on promoting the racist party. thanks again

    shake head…..

  24. #24 by Toyol on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 9:56 am

    Monies could have been spent on the poor and needy, instead of burning it up for selfish reasons. The celebrations was not so much a national celebration but more of a BN one. Many of my friends who attended the various celebrations felt the same way.

    Does the above sum include corporate sponsorships? Where have these monies gone to? Have they been accounted properly. Just because they are funded by corporations do not mean they need not be accounted for.

  25. #25 by shiver on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 10:09 am

    great la. another RM100,000,000.00 down the drain.
    i wonder HOW MUCH was really used for it. maybe we need to have a personalized item billing. then you can see actually the real figures used and the figures masuk poket orang.

    dei adek awang, RM 3-4 per person? gila kah you? i rather you give me that money so i can have a meal than you spending on something that is syok sendiri.

    AAB – we are not in the business of cheating the people -2006.


  26. #26 by raverus on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 10:12 am

    Corrupt to the core with rakyat’s money.

  27. #27 by k1980 on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 10:24 am

    The Pulau Bidong Detention Camp should be reopened to keep these money-grabbing crooks and cheats away from our society.

  28. #28 by swyoke on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 11:35 am

    “He said with 26 million population, the RM100 million tag worked out to about RM3 or RM4 per person once in 50 years, symbolising the peace, harmony and welfare enjoyed by the people.”

    RM4.6bil for PKFZ worked ot to about RM177 per person, what does this symbolyse ?

  29. #29 by Jong on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 11:38 am

    This is ridiculous, to use this kind of money – rm100 million (our money damn it!), is highly irresponsible and unnecessary splashing! Scandalous it is!

    This is abuse of power at the top. YB Lim, we demand to know from them a detailed account of their spending.

    Dirty politicians, scum of the earth!

  30. #30 by badak on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 12:23 pm

    AHH YOOI,RM 100 MILLION only, What you opposition people think you can do.We BN is the goverment ,we control the Police,the ACA, the news paper and all the radio and T.V station,Even the election commision is control by us,

    You think you guys can win the next General Election, you think your blogs is of any help ,come election time we will shut down the internet,We can o anything we want our SLOGON BN BOLEH,because we can,t afford to lose the election ,then we all be arrested for corupption.BECAUSE ABSOLUTE POWER CORRUPT ABSOLUTELY

  31. #31 by badak on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 12:52 pm

    The BN GOVERMENT ,Has sent out a memo to all BN ,MP and state assembly men to raise as much money as possible for the coming GENERAL ELECTION,The Spoke person said ” we don,t care how you do it , Just do it ”

    Reason the gorverment is bankrupt,We need the money to bribe the voters,because MONEY TALKS….

  32. #32 by k1980 on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 1:10 pm

    Why not spend RM1 billion on the celebrations? With 26 million population, the RM1 billion tag will work out to be about RM30 or RM40 per person once in 50 years, that is only 70sen per year “symbolising the peace, harmony and welfare enjoyed by the people…”

  33. #33 by jackrusso on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 1:32 pm

    They found 100 million ways to spend the rakyat’s money! Ingenius!!

    It goes to show that the Malaysian government is cash rich but still insists on collecting toll money, high income taxes, high petrol prices, high hospital bills, tariffs, excise duties, etc etc.

    The poor malays, chinese and indians are barely surviving with their meagre salaries with very little hope in sight but do the ruling elite ultra malay umno care??

    As always MCA and MIC are silent. They are the silent partners, sharing in the profits but refusing to take responsibility!Subsidairy irrelevant parties, at best.

    Someday there will be justice.

  34. #34 by toniXe on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 2:20 pm

    great calculations great satisfaction ! malaysia boleh ! long live umno and all bloodsuckers. Till death do malaysians weep

  35. #35 by toniXe on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 2:21 pm

    great calculations great satisfaction ! malaysia boleh ! long live umno and all bloodsuckers. Till death do malaysians weep

  36. #36 by toniXe on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 2:21 pm

    great calculations great satisfaction ! malaysia boleh ! long live umno and all bloodsuckers. Till death do malaysians weep

  37. #37 by ethnicmalaysian on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 2:38 pm

    What’s RM100m compared to our RM1b istana, RM500m UK sports center, RM500m ‘commission/technical’ fee for purchase of Scorpene submarines, RM300m compensation for cancellation of crooked bridge etc etc?
    So RM100m is very very reasonable and is peanuts actually.

  38. #38 by smeagroo on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 3:00 pm

    RM3-4 once every 50 years said the dimwit.

    Yea and will we ever look forward to the next 50 years of Merdeka!

    How did the orang kampung benefit form the fireworks display in PUtrajaya? How can they enjoy something done lavishly in KL when they dont even hv proper access to simple ammenities? U expect them to walk to KL?

  39. #39 by YY88 on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 3:16 pm

    Out of the 100 millions, Only God and Badawi knows how much goes into the pocket!

  40. #40 by luzzio on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 3:52 pm

    so…Rm3-4 from the entire country? Looks like most of the celebrations were held just in KL (as usual)

    Kinda forgetting about the other states that paid as well, eh?

  41. #41 by Chong Zhemin on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 6:17 pm

    Flying Jalur Gemilang RM8.5 million

    Did i see this wrongly? What giant jalur gemilang are they putting up? Any world record?

  42. #42 by citizen on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 8:37 pm

    On June19, the Deputy Information Minister (Datuk Ahmad Zahid) said the government will distribute 1 million flags through the PM’s office. – from Bernama.

    On June23, he said companies had been contributing the national flags to the people (part of the tax exemption programme for firms). – from Bernama

    If companies had been contributing the national flags to the people, why was RM8.5million spent? Just curious.

  43. #43 by citizen on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 9:24 pm

    “He said the expenditure of RM93 million for the 50th Merdeka anniversary celebrations were proper and justified once in 50 years and in creating a sense of national unity for the occasion, which was priceless”

    Actually, I don’t mind paying 3 ringgit if it really benefit the whole nation and no one take personal advantage of this. It is very hard to say no one took advantage of it for personal gain, especially monetary gain. I’m sure it is very easily get done with without traces when there is no external auditing (ideally the auditor should be someone from the opposition and should have the power to access related companies account and bank transactions).

  44. #44 by iggy on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 9:45 pm

    Judging by the transparency displayed in the past, i really wouldn’t be surprised if the figure went WAAAYYYY past RM100mil..

  45. #45 by Jonny on Wednesday, 5 September 2007 - 11:45 pm

    I didn’t see any fireworks, I didn’t join the Merdeka Celebration. I didn’t put up a Jalur Gemilang.

    Yet, I am still more patriotic and loyal to the country, king and constitution then the scums.

    CAN I GET A REFUND OF THE RM4 apportioned on my headcount??

  46. #46 by dawsheng on Thursday, 6 September 2007 - 12:32 am

    Deputy Finance Minister, Datuk Dr. Awang Adek’s sense of national unity which suppose to be priceless can be created with spending RM100 million to celebrate Merdeka. How can it be priceless when UMNO bought it with RM100 million?

  47. #47 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 6 September 2007 - 1:25 am

    Over the course of some 50 years, rest assured they have perfected the fine art of hiding controversial expenditures under various heads of expenditure. Cursory reading of the Budget Estimates will not do. Why the need for Supplementary Expenditures?

  48. #48 by ktteokt on Friday, 7 September 2007 - 9:24 am

    What jalur-jalur gemilang are we talking about? I can still see “strands of rag” flying on flag posts, the remains of some forgotten “jalur-jalur gemilang” put up umpteen years ago by so-called patriots of Malaysia.

    Are these bits and pieces of rags an indication of patriotism by these people? This is but one bad habit of Malaysians who care to be “patriotic” when putting up the flag but “unpatriotic” when it comes to removing it.

  49. #49 by Anak_Permyjaya on Friday, 7 September 2007 - 2:18 pm

    RM100mil… that’s really a waste, don’t tell me when we celebrating 100 years of Merdeka, the money x10 or so…

    Merdeka, we as Malaysian all celebrating with great feeling and thankful heart. I myself hang jalur gemilang on my car as well. My friend all said my car is like “BUMI” car but I told them that I’m a chinese who want to shows the other people that we chinese can do what they do too but with a more reasonable “scale”. I don’t spend hundreds of ringgit to decorate my car with flags and logo, but just a big flag on my car bonnet! Anyway, I hope all other chinese out there also do what I did, since they still think “if you don’t hang national flag, you’re not patriotic.” Enough of it, I leading with example this time. Hehe.. For shops and commercial buildings, I’m supporting the acts of hanging flags, once a year, why not? It shows to foreigners that we celebrates Merdeka with pride! By the way, the big flag is only RM10!

    BUT…. here come the main part…. not to spend too much tax payers money on the event itself… RM100 mil is definately not a wise move. I don’t know who approved all these but don’t you think RM 10m is more than enough already? Or there’re some middle man cutting in and make profit??

  50. #50 by tunglang on Saturday, 8 September 2007 - 12:40 am

    AAB, can this lavish spending qualify for the Guinness World Records for Independence Day Celebration by any country?
    Yeah, may I suggest U set another record for this coming GE.
    Shame on you as a Penangite (UR supposed to be Kiam Siap).

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