1. I am happy that Tun Abdullah has explained that he did not write about how the nation would be bankrupt if he had followed my advice. It was the interviewer.
2. I hope he does not mind my clearing my name over what the interviewer wrote in “The Awakening”. Yes, I agree that I was a spendthrift Prime Minister who finished all the government money building the North South Expressway, Penang Bridge, West Port, KLIA, Putrajaya, Cyberjaya and an assortment of others.
3. Had Tun Abdullah succeeded me earlier all these would be stopped to save Malaysia from bankruptcy. As it is, he managed to stop the crooked bridge and the railway double-tracking and electrification project.
4. The bridge would have cost just under 1 billion Ringgit. The cancellation cost the Government 200 million Ringgit in compensation and unfinished work.
5. The railway project from Johor Bahru to Padang Besar was going to cost 14 billion Ringgit – slightly more than 2 billion per year for six years. Fourteen billion Ringgit was saved. But then it was found necessary to build the electrified double track from Ipoh to Padang Besar. The cost is 12 billion Ringgit.
6. A contract was given to a foreign company to build the track from Seremban to Gemas. I don’t know what it cost. Looks like the 14 billion saved was spent on very much shorter tracks, about one-third in length.
7. Still there must have been a lot of money saved. The small jet I used was good only for the Deputy Prime Minister. A big jet was bought not through the usual channels but by some private individual. There was denial by the Government that the A320 was bought for the use by the Prime Minister. But the aircraft is even today used by the Prime Minister. Wonder why the deal was struck. Who really owns the aircraft? How much money has been saved by the Government from this deal?
8. Then there were these corridors to be developed. Each would cost 70 billion Ringgit. Then it is learnt that the allocation include private sector investments. Before Government budget is about how the Government will spend Government money. Under Tun Abdullah the Government budgets for the private sector to spend. But that’s allright because the figures look good.
9. However since none of the corridors took off, billions were saved.
10. It must have been a very rich Government which went for the 12th General Election. Sadly the people did not appreciate the billions that were saved. They rejected the Government party, giving 5 states and one federal territory to the opposition, and just a small majority to the thrifty party.
11. Just imagine how many billions more would be saved if I had stepped down earlier before building the North-South Highway, Penang Bridge, KLIA, West Port, Putrajaya, Cyberjaya, the twin towers of Petronas and a host of other mega projects. We would be sitting on a mountain of Ringgits.