going down the malaysian road
We have many things in common with the Malaysians. We are also engaged in many developmental projects, mega projects, some private initiatives and some govt initiatives. All done either to inject funds and vitality to the economy or to make profits for the project owners. But there are subtle differences between the Singaporean way and the Malaysian way. Where the project funds come from, who benefitted, who get the share of the profits and who pay for the profits. There is also another key difference in the conceptual stage. Singaporean projects were normally conceived when there is a need with profits coming in later. In the case of Malaysians, the project was conceived from the profit first basis and generating the needs later. So we have the crooked bridge, a classic example of a project where the need was not there but build up to justify for it, and with how much money can be made as the main reason. Who eventually pays for the project and profit are secondary. Would Singapore go down this road, conceiving of a project because there is money to be made? And get the private sector to pay for all the costs and charge the public for it? I have in mind the underground road system. The Malaysians are expert and single minded in building roads and bridges and railway lines to collect tolls. Not that we are not collecting tolls. The tolls we are collecting are much bigger in scale. But these are schemes that grow out of a necessity, a need. Suddenly the road situation got bad, so the easiest way to kill two birds with one stone is to make the motorists pay and relieve congestion. We have never think of collecting toll as the primary goal, the raison d'tre for building roads. This is the Malaysian way of making money. Not forgetting we are already collecting in the billions from ARF, PARF, road tax, COEs, ERPs, ALS. Aren't these enough to pay for the construction of roads? Aren't the collection of all these fees meant for this purpose? Now where have all these monies gone to that we need to think of collecting tolls as the main reason for the building of roads?