Public forum – PEMANDU and the ETP: Truly Transformative or Business as Usual?

by Liew Chin Tong

Is the ETP truly transformative or is it just another expensive Public Relations exercise? The Rakyat has a right to know.

The government of Malaysia has invested a significant amount of resources and energy towards its Economic Transformation Program (ETP) which is currently being led by Senator Datuk Idris Jala , CEO of the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (PEMANDU). According to a media report, RM66 million was paid to various consultants to establish PEMANDU. And this agency is not cheap to maintain. It’s eight directors have an average salary of RM30,000 a month each while an associate director each receive an average of RM23,300 per month. With this amount of taxpayer’s dollars being spent, the Rakyat has a right to know the concrete results which the ETP is supposed to deliver.

More important than how much PEMANDU costs is the ETP’s goal to transform Malaysia into a high income country. Here, PEMANDU has set very ambitious goals for itself – RM48,000 GNI per capita, 3.3 million new jobs, RM1.4 trillion in new investments, annual growth rate of 6% per annum, from now until 2020. In the eight ETP Updates announced by PEMANDU from October 2010 to November 2011, its transformation roadmap seems to be going on very well, with almost all of its targets achieved.

However, when the ETP is examined in greater detail, as was done in an ongoing series entitled “A Critique of the ETP” by the Research for Social Advancement (REFSA), we find that the ETP is not as transformative as it sounds. For example, we would have reached RM48,000 GNI per capita with or without the ETP. And reaching this target does not mean that we will be twice as rich in 2020 as we were in 2009. In addition, many of the Entry Point Projects (EPPs) announced in the ETP Updates have been in the pipeline before the existence of the ETP. How transformative is the ETP when a lot of what it does is to announce the completion or commitment of already pre-existing projects such as the Johor Premium Outlet or the St Regis Hotel?

Even more worrying is the fact that some in the corporate sector seems to be taking advantage of the ETP in order to gain more access to public resources. One such example is the integrated eco-resort in Sabah under the Karambunai group, which ballooned from an initial RM3 billion budget in the 2010 budget to RM6.7 billion in the ETP Roadmap report to RM9.6 billion when it was announced as an EPP in 2011. Projects such as these are entitled to public funding of up to 10% of development costs under the 10th Malaysian Plan. The higher the expected development costs, the higher the public funding. Is PEMANDU indirectly giving a stamp of approval for this public funding by naming these projects as EPPs? Again, there is very nothing transformative about some elements in the corporate sector making use of public funds for their own private gain.

Finally, the EPPs with high investment values which have been announced thus far are concentrated in a small number of NKEAs, namely Oil, Gas and Energy and the Greater KL / Klang Valley NKEAs. Two EPPs, Petronas RAPID project in Pengerang, Johor and the MRT project in KL / Selangor, contribute nearly RM100 billion of the RM177 billion of committed investments announced thus far. Just one NKEA – the Oil, Gas and Energy NKEA – accounts for 53% committed investments. The top 10 EPPs (out of 104 announced) account for 140 billion or 80% of the announced investments. What this means is that a small group of workers and corporations will disproportionately benefit from the ETP.

REFSA has calculated, using PEMANDU’s own figures, that only 21% of the output generated from the ETP will go towards the wages of workers while 74% will go into the pockets of corporations. Again, there is nothing very transformative about creating an economy which disproportionately benefits the already well-off and the large corporations. As a high income nation, more of our country’s economic output should be distributed in the form of wages to workers, not profits to corporations.

This covers only a small part of many of Pakatan Rakyat’s concerns over the Economic Transformation Program (ETP).

We will explain our concerns in greater detail in a public forum entitled: PEMANDU and the ETP: Truly Transformative or Business as Usual?

The details for this forum are as follows:

Date and Time: 8pm, Wednesday, 7 March, 2012
Venue: Auditorium, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH)

YB Dr. Dzulkefly Ahmad, PAS MP for Kuala Selangor
YB Liew Chin Tong, DAP MP for Bukit Bendera
Razifi Ramli, Head of Strategy, PKR
Teh Chi-Chang, Executive Director, REFSA

Moderator: Dr. Ong Kian Ming

For further enquiries, please email: [email protected]

  1. #1 by yhsiew on Monday, 5 March 2012 - 11:00 pm

    Those who draw a salary of RM30,000 should answer the question, PEMANDU and the ETP: Truly Transformative or Business as Usual?

  2. #2 by monsterball on Monday, 5 March 2012 - 11:25 pm

    UMNO b ministers only know how to talk politics and need to buy and employ others to run the country.
    They don’t care how much each one is they are still pea nuts compared to how much they can spend like kings and queen with stolen money.
    The corrupted lot…have no sense of proportions and experiences to govern….especially during these last 30 years.
    They only know how to suck blood and squeezed water from stones.

  3. #3 by drngsc on Monday, 5 March 2012 - 11:33 pm

    PEMANDU / ETP !!. Basically, the question is, do you trust this group of pirates. I said NO. Let us change them

    We need to change the tenant at Putrajaya, before Malaysia goes bankrupt. GE 13 is coming. Change we must, Change we can. Let us all work very very hard.

  4. #4 by k1980 on Tuesday, 6 March 2012 - 1:16 am

    Yeah, business as usual

    Kwong Wah Jit Poh– Motorcyclist Lim Hup Hwang was riding without a helmet about 5.50 pm when he arrived at the roadblock. Attempting to stop Lim, the police personnel kicked the motorcycle, causing the teenager to fall and hit the road divider.

    Lim was taken to the Tangkak Hospital and later transferred to a private hospital in Malacca due to the severe injuries on the head, right ear, neck, right leg and other parts of his body.

    The daily quoted an eyewitness as claiming that Lim’s motorcycle was kicked because he did not immediately stop after being instructed by the police to do so.

  5. #5 by k1980 on Tuesday, 6 March 2012 - 1:30 am

  6. #6 by sheriff singh on Tuesday, 6 March 2012 - 1:46 am

    PEMANDU should find out why Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) is almost bankrupt with very low cash reserves that Petronas ‘pity’ them by giving them cheap oil and gas.

    Looks like we might be bankrupt well before 2019.

  7. #7 by boh-liao on Tuesday, 6 March 2012 - 5:17 am
    We cannot continue to give the welfare assistance and subsidies because he is a strong Opposition supporter
    Sarawak’s assistant agriculture minister Mong Dagang’s action CONFIRMED dat UmnoB/BN r using rakyat’s $$$ (contributed by both BN n nonBN supporters) 2 BUY votes
    So, NOT a SEN 2 opposition supporters who r poor (even handicapped), but MILLIONS 2 rich BN kaki, like d COWwitch n her family

  8. #8 by SENGLANG on Tuesday, 6 March 2012 - 9:45 am

    The first thing that after you have secure a government contract is what car to buy. They will shop around and most probably landed in one of NAza show room to pick up the latest arrival and of course as expensive as possible.

    Next they will shop around for an office location in an as exclusive as possible address.

    Next they will renovate the office as posh as posh possible.

    Next they buy as expensive and as advance possible the office equipment


    Leave a lot of loans and incomplete or half cook project….

    That how life being enjoyed………..

  9. #9 by cseng on Tuesday, 6 March 2012 - 10:28 am

    Those PEMANDU are actually the PENUMPANG in reality?, with core business in packaging and advertistment.

    I think, most (almost all) gov agencies, appointed task forces, even RCI suffered the ‘public confidence deficiency syndrom?’

    Look at Lynas, the AELB say what they like and the public perceive what we like. Issue might be rare earth, maybe not!. Many don’t knows what rare-earth is (I for one), but many knows these gov agencies, the ministry always say whatever they like, fact and fiction, you can’t trust them in safety and health matter. The issue could be public confindence deficiency syndrom.

    But after deacdes of Auditor Genneral’s Reports, Transperency Index, Corruption Index and lately ‘saya mohon maaf’, why not the public suffured from public confiendce deficiency syndrom.

    What make PEMANDU different?, insanity is doing the same and expect the difference.

  10. #10 by Bigjoe on Tuesday, 6 March 2012 - 10:53 am

    The single biggest problem with Pemandu is that it goes against the tide of global trends in job creation. Back in the 1980s-1990s, the mantra is that investments create jobs and hence everyone encouraged investments one way or other.

    Today, the cutting edge of job creation is not investments so much as innovation. Companies that innovate don’t even create that many jobs themselves. Company that innovate that spurs other to also innovate is what create high-value jobs..

    The case is simply exemplify by APPLE. Apple is now the largest company in the US but only employ 47K people. However, it results in over 700K jobs overseas. BUT those that innovate with Apple products create over 500K jobs in the US.

    THIS is not what UMNO-Perkasa/BN can do with its old ideas of investment even if its largely by govt. Its simply an old formula and old idea. The future lies with laying the groundwork for trully innovative ideas by masses of people on their own that will take decades to come to fruition of which UMNO-Perkasa/BN that insist of hegemony and rewarding themselves too much don’t work. We need a govt that must go recognize that the large part of govt and those that participate in it is simply that of service to others and the nation – i.e., their job is to make others do well and be better not themselves.

  11. #11 by etp_roadmap on Tuesday, 6 March 2012 - 3:00 pm

    Hi there,

    Many of the queries raised in here have been mentioned previously in several instances and versions. We usually respond to frequently asked questions via the “Your Questions Answered” series on our blog, and we invite you to follow our blog regularly to get the latest updates.

    Here are a few of our latest posts in the series:


  12. #12 by cemerlang on Tuesday, 6 March 2012 - 5:13 pm

    Look at people’s expectations. Some expectations are low. Some expectations are high. For low expectations, even peanuts achievements is great enough.

You must be logged in to post a comment.