I refer to a WhatsApp message that says the following:
“Listen to this (video) and think about it.
It’s hard to believe that Malaysia is the perfect model for China after Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Jamaica & Greece.
We hv the history of atrocities by Communist Party (Terrorists).
Jack Ma is also the influential biz advisor to the PM.
Numerous lands & companies bought over by China, Xiamen university for students from China.
Enclavement (safe haven) in MCKIP, Forest Cities, flourishing China’s retail companies even in Aeon too.etc,
Strategic Tun Razak 106 Exchange overlooking KL area, with potential airport, ports and MISC shipping, railway lines, even purchase of Perwaja land within Kemaman Supply base etc….widespread corruptions, a condusive environment to China Belt Road Initiatives.
We hv to accept first that the threat is real.”
HISTORY OF ATROCITIES BY COMMUNIST PARTY
The atrocity done to Malaysians was by those born in Malaya, not China. China merely gave its support for the setting up of a Communist satellite nation in Malaysia by Chin Peng, who is largely revered by the DAP.
In 1981, Mahathir’s political secretary was arrested by the police for being a communist agent. Interestingly, Mahathir allowed Communist Cuba to open an embassy in Kuala Lumpur in 1997. Mahathir also allowed Communist North Korea to open an embassy in Kuala Lumpur in 2003, several months before he stepped down.
Mahathir loved Communist China so much that he visited the country seven times and invited China to invest in Malaysia. A year after he became PM the Sino-Malaysia trade stood at US$307 million. A year before he stepped down, it was at US$14 billion.
Mahathir himself said in Bangkok after retirement that for 2000 years China has been a superpower, and it could have invaded the Malay states had it wanted to but never did. So, if Mahathir has never been afraid of China, why should be we be afraid of it?
JACK MA IS INFLUENTIAL BUSINESS ADVISOR TO THE PM
Well, Jack Ma is the advisor to this country on E-Commerce. If this is the concern, then Jack Ma is also the business advisor to Indonesia on E-Commerce. By definition, China has also colonised Indonesia through Jack Ma.
Wait! Jack Ma is also the advisor to the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on E-Commerce. So, has China taken over the world?
NUMEROUS LANDS AND COMPANIES BOUGHT OVER BY CHINA. XIAMEN UNIVERSITY FOR STUDENTS FROM CHINA
Wow! Well written by a very ill-informed person.
Xiamen University Campus Malaysia has 700 students from China and 900 from Malaysia. Last year it gave out scholarships to top performing local (Malaysian students).
Xiamen University Campus Malaysia is just a new face in a crowded space that already has nine branch campus of foreign universities that include Nottingham University, University of Reading, Monash University to name a few.
Why pick on Xiamen University alone? Is it because it is in a state held by the Barisan Nasional? Before Xiamen University, we already have Hanjiang (Han Chiang) University in Pulau Pinang and New Era University College in Kajang, Selangor. Why not ask why is the flag of China flying above those campuses as well?
As at the beginning of 2018, China’s investments received in Malaysia is RM63 billion. Japan’s investments received in Malaysia totals RM70 billion. Aren’t we selling the country to the Japanese more?
Furthermore, China’s FDI in Malaysia is at the 10th place and accounts for only 2 percent of the total FDI received by Malaysia. The US debt to China is at US$1.2 TRILLION making its Debt-to-China-versus-GDP at 6.5 percent. Is the US now owned by China? You tell me!
ENCLAVEMENT IN MCKIP, FOREST CITY, FLOURISHING CHINA’S RETAIL COMPANIES IN AEON TOO
AEON is a company that has nine members of the Board. Three of the nine are Japanese while the rest are Malaysians. If the Japanese board members don’t give a hoot about China retail companies in AEON complexes, why should you?
The Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP) in Kuantan is a 51:49 percent joint-venture between a Malaysian consortium and a China consortium. How is it that we have sold our country to China when we have a 51-percent control of the park?
Why did the writer also write that there is a CMQIP in China? Yes, there is a China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park which is also a 51:49 percent joint-venture between a China consortium and a Malaysian consortium. Has China also sold its ports, airports and country to Malaysia?
There are also the China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park (CSSIP) and the China-Singapore Tianjin Eco City (CSTEC), both in China. Has China sold its country to Singapore too?
Exchange 106 is only built by China’s CSCEC, but the master developer is Indonesia’s Mulia Group. Since when is Exchange 106 a China-owned property?
Forest City is an exception. Although only 40 percent of the development is owned by a Malaysian company, it is an enclave for foreigners, not just China’s citizens. About 15 percent is owned by other foreigners including those from the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East. But does owning only 40 percent make Forest City essentially China-owned?
Similarly, the Marina One and DUO development in Singapore are 60 percent owned by Khazanah Nasional. 40 percent remains with Temasek Holdings. Does that mean those developments are essentially Malaysian? Has Singapore sold itself to Malaysia? Has there been any noise by anyone in Singapore over this issue?
Of course not. Singaporeans are not as stupid and foolish as Malaysians are who would believe anything especially lies and fake news.
Baru-baru ini ditularkan di dalam Facebook dan WhatsApp sebuah video mengenai cara negara China memperluaskan penguasaannya dengan menggunakan kekuatan ekonomi. Video tersebut membandingkan usahasama China-Sri Lanka di pelabuhan laut dalam Hambantota dengan usahasama-usahasama yang dijalankan di Malaysia, membuktikan bahawa Malaysia juga boleh berakhir bukan sahaja menjadi sebuah negara yang dibelenggu masalah hutang yang besar, tetapi juga bakal hilang pegangan ke atas aset-aset tersebut.
Secara kasar, berhutang keada China dengan sebegitu banyak untuk projek-projek tersebut adalah amat menakutkan, terutamanya untuk mereka yang tidak mendapat gambaran penuh. Namun, membandingkan Malaysia dengan Sri Lanka bukanlah suatu perkara yang bijak.
Pelabuhan laut dalam Hambantota terletak di dalam kawasan bekas Presiden Sri Lanka iaitu Mahinda Rajapaksa dan kos pembinaannya adalah lebih dari $1 billion. Sebuah lagi projek yang dibina di dalam kawasan Mahinda ialah Lapangan terbang Mattala Rajapaksa yang terletak 30 kilometer dari pelabuhan tersebut. Sehingga kini, lapangan terbang tersebut digunakan oleh hanya beberapa ratus orang seminggu hinggakan ianya diberi gelaran “lapangan terbang paling sunyi di dunia.”
Hambantota ialah sebuah wilayah yang terpencil di Selatan Sri Lanka. Jaraknya dengan bandar yang paing hampir iaitu Galle ialah 130 kilometer, manakala jaraknya dengan ibu negara Sri Lanka iaitu Colombo ialah 240 kilometer. Jumlah penduduknya hanyalah sekitar 12,000 orang dan ianya merupakan sebuah wilayah yang tersisih dari sebarang pembangunan. Masalah pelabuhan laut dalam Hambantota ialah kedalaman airnya yang tidak mencukupi untuk kapal-kapal dagang yang besar untuk masuk ke pelabuhan tersebut. Maka, ianya tidak menjadi suatu destinasi bagi syarikat-syarikat perkapalan besar. Tiada siapa yang ingin berpindah ke sana kerana ianya berada terlalu jauh dari pembangunan. Ini menyebabkan kedua-dua pelabuhan dan lapangan terbang tidak dapat menjana pendapatan untuk menampung kos operasinya sendiri, apatah lagi untuk membayar pinjaman yang telah diterima daripada China.
Jumlah hutang yang ditanggung oleh Sri Lanka ialah hampir $65 billion. Dari jumlah tersebut, $8 billion adalah hutang kepada China. KDNKnya (Keluaran Dalam Negara Kasar) ialah sebanyak $81.32 billion. Kadar hutang kepada KDNKnya pula ialah 75 peratus manakala rizab matawang asingnya ialah $7.2 billion. Kerajaan Sri Lanka menggunakan 95.4 peratus pendapatannya untuk membayar hutang. Inilah sebab-sebab Sri Lanka mengambil jalan untuk melangsaikan hutang-hutangnya untuk kedua-dua projek tersebut dengan cara menyerahkan pegangan kepada negara pemiutang (China).
Bandingkan apa yang terjadi dengan projek ECRL yang bernilai $13.1 billion (RM55 bilion). Malaysia mengambil pinjaman sebanyak $11.14 billion (85 peratus dari kos keseluruhan projek atau RM46.75 billion) dari China manakala selebihnya dibiayai melalui program sukuk yang dikendalikan oleh institusi-institusi kewangan tempatan.
Projek Forest City di negeri Johor pula merupakan sebuah program pembangunan bernilai $100 billion selama 20 tahun. Walaupun jumlah yang diperuntukkan bagi setiap fasa projek tersebut adalah merupakan maklumat sulit syarikat yang membangunkan projek tersebut, ianya dianggarkan sekitar $5 billion setahun. Projek tersebut telah bermula pada tahun 2015 dan sehingga kini 11 peratus telah dilaksanakan. Pada akhir bulan Disember 2016, Forest City berjaya membuat penjualan 17,000 unit apartmen bernilai $2.9 billion. Tempoh pembangunan projek tersebut masih berbaki 17 tahun lagi.
KDNK Malaysia kini berjumlah $320.25 billion (RM1.3 trillion) untuk tahun 2017. Ini menjadikan kos projek ECRL pada kadar 4.1 peratus dari KDNK manakala projek Forest City pada kadar 1.6 peratus setahun. Jumah hutang keseluruhan negara ialah sebanyak RM685.1 billion atau 50.9 peratus dari KDNK. Dari jumlah ini, RM662.4 billion adalah hutang dalam negara manakala hanya RM22.7 billion merupakan hutang luar pesisir pantai.
Yang menariknya, setakat bulan Oktober 2017, hutang Amerika Syarikat kepada China berjumah $1.2 trillion, iaitu 19 peratus dari sejumlah $6.3 trillion dalam bentuk bil-bil Perbendaharaan, wang, dan bon-bon yang dipegang oleh negara-negara luar. KDNK AS pada tahun 2016 adalah sebanyak $18.57 trillion dan ini menjadikan kadar hutang AS kepada China berbanding KDNKnya sebanyak 6.5 peratus.
Sudah tentu kita boleh membiayai projek-projek di atas tanpa mengambil sebarang pinjaman. Rizab matawang asing kita berjumlah RM414.71 billion ($102.17 billion), lebih dari mencukupi untuk pembiayaan kedua-dua projek tersebut.Jika kita gunakan kaedah di zaman Tun Mahathir, Petronas mempunyai pegangan tunai sebanyak RM129 billion ($31.8 billion) manakala KWSP mempunyai aset-aset yang bernilai $771 billion ($189.9 billion). Ini tidak termasuk pegangan tunai dan aset-aset kepunyaan Khazanah, Tabung Haji, KWAP, SOCSO, PNB dan lain-lain institusi kerajaan.
Sekiranya kadar hutang kepada KDNK sebanyak 50.9 peratus merisaukan anda, ianya pernah berada pada kadar 103.4 peratus semasa Mahathir merupakan Perdana Menteri pada tahun 1985. Dan suatu jumlah bersamaan dengan 24 peratus KDNK juga telah hilang dalam skandal Forex BNM pada tahun 1991 iaitu semasa Mahathir masih lagi Perdana Menteri Malaysia. 24 peratus daripada KDNK sekiranya ia berlaku sekarang bersamaan dengan hilangnya RM315 billion dari RM1.3 trillion. Sebagai perbandingan, kadar hutang kepada KDNK Singapura ialah 112 peratus dan negara tersebut berada di tangga ke-10 dari 17 negara yang mempunyai kadar hutang berbanding KDNK paling tinggi di dunia yang disenaraikan oleh Business Insider, UK. Jepun menduduki tempat pertama dengan kadar 239.2 peratus!
Kita tidak jatuh bankrap semasa zaman Mahathir jadi mengapa perlu kita takutkan kadar hutang berbanding KDNK sebanyak 50.9 peratus bila asas ekonomi kita jauh lebih kukuh sekarang berbanding 103.4 peratus semasa asas kita lemah? Jepun dan Singapura juga tidak jatuh bankrap.
Dan apa masalahnya dengan pemilikan tanah Forest City? Tanah tersebut adalah merupakan tanah yang ditambak di tengah laut. Ini bermakna tiada tanah yang “diberikan kepada China.” Johor mempunyai hak ke atas tanah yang ditambak tersebut berdasarkan Kanun Tanah Negara, 1965 dan selagi ianya berada dalam lingkungan tiga batu nautika mengikut Seksyen 3(3) Akta Laut Wilayah, 2012. Sama ada ianya merupakan pegangan bebas mahupun pegangan pajakan, Johor mempunyai hak untuk mengambil semula tanah tersebut di bawah Akta Pengambilan Tanah, 1960. Mana-mana tanah sehingga 12 batu nautika dari sisir pantai adalah hak milik negara.
Namun Mahathir lebih suka memilih jalan dengan menggembar-gemburkan cerita untuk menakut-nakutkan rakyat. Dalam ucapan beliau baru-baru ini, beliau berkata, “Habislah tanah kita akan dijual, tidak kiralah Forest City, saya harap Forest City akan betul-betul jadi ‘forest’ (hutan)…penduduknya akan terdiri daripada kera, monyet dan sebagainya.”
Taman Perindustrian Malaysia-China Kuantan (MCKIP) dibangunkan oleh MCKIP Sdn Bhd (MCKIPSB) yang merupakan sebuah syarikat usahasama 51:49 di antara sebuah konsortium Malaysia dan sebuah konsortium China. Pegangan dalam Konsortium Malaysia pula terdiri dari IJM (40 peratus), Sime Darby Property (30 peratus) dan Kerajaan Negeri Pahang (30 peratus). Taman perindustrian kembarnya iaitu Taman Perindustrian China-Malaysia Qinzhou (CMQIP) di negera China pula dipegang oleh sebuah konsortium Malaysia (SP Setia Berhad dan Rimbunan Hijau Group) sebanyak 49 peratus.
Mengikut logik Mahathir, bukankah China telah memberi peluang kepada Malaysia untuk menjajah negaranya? Sebelum ini China juga telah membenarkan Singapura menjajahnya di dua kawasan iaitu di Taman Perindustrian China-Singapore Suzhou dan juga di Bandaraya Eko China-Singapore Tianjin.
Walaupun keadaan di Sri Lanka nampak suram, Jepun, Singapura dan India telah menyatakan hasrat untuk membina infrastruktur dan mendirikan perniagaan di Sri Lanka. Walaupun Sri Lanka mempunyai asas ekonomi yang lemah, Lolitha Abeysinghe dari Opportunity Sri Lanka kekal optimistik.
“Pergantungan berlebihan terhadap mana-mana negara untuk pelaburan, teknologi dan pasaran boleh memberi kesan buruk terhadap kepentingan negara dalam jangka panjang, tetapi sekiranya diurus dengan betul dan dengan wawasan yang jauh, Sri Lanka boleh mengurangkan masalah tersebut dan mendapat manfaat terbaik untuk ekonomi luar bandar domestik di dalam sebuah dari wilayah-wilayah terpinggir di Sri Lanka,” katanya.
Malaysia mempunyai wawasan tersebut tetapi malangnya sesetengah orang lebih gemar sekiranya Malaysia gagal hanya kerana kepentingan politik. Politik cara kera dan monyet.
Recently, a video clip of how China is fulfilling its hegemonic ambitions using economic means was spread around especially in Facebook and WhatsApp groups. The video compares the Sino-Sri Lankan joint-venture at the Hambantota Deep Water Port with the ones in Malaysia, proving that Malaysia, like Sri Lanka, could end up not only with a huge debt owing to China, but also lose its ownership of those assets.
On the surface, it sounds scary to have so much money owed to China for these projects especially so for the ill-informed. But comparing Malaysia to Sri Lanka hardly does any justice.
The Hambantota Deep Water Port lies within the constituency of the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and costs more than $1 billion to construct. Another project that was constructed in this constituency is the Mattala Rajapaksa Airport, located 30 kilometres away from the port, which until now flies only a few hundred passengers in and out weekly and has been dubbed “the world’s loneliest airport.”
Hambantota is a remote region in the South, 240 kilometres from Colombo and the nearest city, Galle, is 130 kilometres away. The population of Hambantota is around 12,000 people and is very underdeveloped. The problem with Hambantota’s deep-water port is that its waters are not deep enough for large vessels with deep draught, so large shipping companies shy away from it. It is far from any development that hardly anyone wants to move there. Both the port and the airport cannot generate enough income to sustain operations let alone pay back loans to the Chinese.
Sri Lanka owes its financiers close to $65 billion and of this, $8 billion alone is owed to the Chinese. Its GDP stands at $81.32 billion, debt-to-GDP ratio stands at roughly 75 percent while its foreign currency reserves is at $7.2 billion. The Sri Lankan government uses 95.4 percent of its revenue to repay debts. These are the reasons for Sri Lanka to opt for a debt-for-equity solution for both projects.
Compare this with Malaysia’s $13.1 billion East Coast Rail Link, or RM55 billion in Malaysian terms. Malaysia took a $11.14 billion loan (85 percent or RM46.75 billion) from China to finance the project while the balance is in the form of a sukuk programme managed by local financial institutions.
The Forest City project in Johor is a development programme that runs over 20 years. How much is being allocated per project is a company confidential information but if we go by average, it would be at $5 billion per annum, with a total of $100 billion over 20 years. The project commenced in 2015 and to date has completed about 11 percent. At the end of December 2016, Forest City saw concluded contracted sales of $2.9 billion for 17,000 apartment units. It still has another 17 years of development to go.
Our GDP now stands at around $320.25 billion (RM1.3 trillion) for 2017 which puts the cost of the ECRL project at 4.1 percent of the GDP while Forest City accounts to approximately 1.6 percent of the GDP per annum. The total Government debt as at end of June 2017 was reported to be at RM685.1 billion or 50.9 percent of the GDP. Of this total, RM662.4 billion was domestic debt while RM22.7 billion was offshore loans.
Interestingly, as of October 2017, the US debt to China is at $1.2 trillion, which is 19 percent of the $6.3 trillion in US Treasury bills, notes and bonds held by foreign countries. The US GDP in 2016 was $18.57 trillion which makes its China-debt-to-GDP alone at 6.5 percent.
Of course, we could undertake to pay for all the above projects. Our foreign currency exchange reserves are at RM414.71 billion ($102.17 billion) which is more than enough to pay for both projects. If we use the Mahathir-era method, then Petronas has RM129 billion in cash ($31.8 billion) while the EPF has RM771 billion ($189.9 billion) worth of assets. This does not include sources from other funds such as Khazanah, Tabung Haji, KWAP, SOCSO, PNB and others.
If our debt-to-GDP ratio of 50.9 percent is still a scary number to you, it was at 103.4 percent when Mahathir was the Prime Minister in 1985! And an equivalent to 24 percent of the GDP went missing as a resut of the BNM Forex scandal also during his tenure as the PM in 1991! That is RM315 billion if our GDP is RM1.3 trillion! In contrast, Singapore’s debt-to-GDP ratio is 112 percent at tenth place out of 17 nations with the highest debt-to-GDP rate listed by Business Insider, UK. Japan is first at 239.2 percent.
Still, we did not go bankrupt back then. So why should we fear a 50.9 percent debt-to-GDP ratio with much stronger economic fundamentals when we have reached 103.4 percent with a much weaker economy? And neither Singapore nor Japan has gone bankrupt.
And what is with the ownership of the land where Forest City is situated? It is a reclaimed land; therefore, no part of mainland Johor was carved out to be “given to the Chinese.” Johor has rights over the reclaimed land as accorded by the National Land Code, 1965 up to three nautical miles as given by Section 3(3) of the Territorial Sea Act, 2012. Whether it is a freehold land or a leasehold land, Johor can always take it back, with provisions, under the Land Acquisition Act, 1960. Up to 12 nautical miles from the foreshore, the Malaysian flag flies no matter who holds the grant.
Mahathir recently said “I hope Forest City will truly become a forest… Its residents will consist of baboons (kera), monkeys (monyet) and so on”, fuelling unjustified fears among the people of Malaysia.
The Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP) has MCKIP Sdn Bhd (MCKIPSB) as its Master Developer. MCKIPSB is a 51:49 joint-venture between a Malaysian consortium and a China consortium. In the Malaysian portion of the shareholding, IJM land holds 40 percent, Sime Darby Property 30 percent and the Pahang State Government holds the remaining 30 percent. Its twin sister, the China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park (CMQIP) in China is 49 percent owned by a Malaysian consortium (SP Setia Berhad and Rimbunan Hijau Group).
Going by Tun Dr Mahathir’s logic, has China just allowed Malaysia to colonise its land too? Prior to this it allowed Singapore to colonise in two other areas, namely the China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park and the China-Singapore Tianjin Eco City.
As bleak as Sri Lanka may sound, Japan, Singapore and India have expressed interest in building infrastructure and setting up shop in Sri Lanka. Even with much weaker economic fundamentals compared to Malaysia, Lolitha Abeysinghe of Opportunity Sri Lanka remains optimistic.
“Over-dependence on any country for investments, technology, and markets could result in some adverse impacts on national interest in the long-run, but if managed properly with a futuristic vision, Sri Lanka can mitigate such adversity and reap the best benefits for the rural domestic economy in one of the least developed districts in Sri Lanka,” he said.
Malaysia has that vision but sadly some of its people would rather see everything fail in the name of politics. The politics of baboons and monkeys.
When the development of Forest City commenced, it came under fire by many including the surrounding communities. This is because of the concerns regarding the impact to the environment as well as the negative publicities fed on how livelihoods would be affected. But my recent article has put that to rest.
Despite having only 245 registered fishermen in a community of 11,000 Country Garden Pacificview (CGPV) finds it of utmost importance that the fishermen would be able to continue conducting sustainable fishing in the waters off Forest City and its surroundings.
Kelab Alami, an NGO concerned with environment conservation, was born out of these concerns in 2008. CGPV works hand-in-hand with Kelab Alami by funding its awareness and research activities.
For 2018, Kelab Alami have lined up a series of activities including the spreading of wider awareness pupils in Sekolah Kebangsaan Tanjung Kupang and Sekolah Kebangsaan Tanjung Adang, both in Gelang Patah.
Kelab Alami founder Shalan Jum’at, 30, said plans for 2018 also include mussel farming, habitat documentation and monitoring of various marine species found in the surrounding area of Kampung Pendas and the other nearby villages.
“With development such as Forest City, which is near to Kg Pendas, it is a boom in eco-tourism. The project have presented challenges as well as the potential of the natural wonders in the sea and rivers that lie just at our doorstep,” said Shalan Jum’at.
“Development has changed the face of Tanjung Kupang for the better and spurred the birth of Kelab Alami, which provided opportunities for the local fishermen to diversify their skills as well as given the children a chance to become citizen researchers as well as act as eco-tour guides to tourists and visitors to the villages here,” he said.
Muhamad Sofi Juhari, 19, who joined the club when it was first set up, said he would have been a youth without any goal in life if not for the club.
“I currently work at a motorcycle repair workshop, which is managed by Anak Alami Enterprise. Shalan showed me the ropes in acquiring entrepreneurial skills. Business is good at the motorcycle repair shop with about 300 customers a day,” Muhamad Sofi said.
“Kelab Alami not only helps me to gain self-confidence and knowledge about the natural wonders of the surrounding environment, I also get to hone my entrepreneurial skills and am able to earn an income that I can contribute to my family,” he added.
Another club member, Mohammad Irfan Yazid, 19, who joined Kelab Alami when he was 7 years old, has a different passion. He operates a ikan bakar (grilled fish) and burger food stalls near Muhamad Sofi’s workshop.
“I can sell about 100 burgers and about 10 grilled fishes per day. With more people coming to work in Forest City, my food business is also improving by the day,” said Mohammad Irfan.
“Forest City has also funded Kelab Alami which has organised activities such as youth ranger training and entrepreneurship seed funding as well as fishermen’s seed funding, among others,” he added.
Another member Muhd Arif Aiman Fazail, 17, who joined Kelab Alami at age 11, said he has forged friendship with the other neighbourhood children through club activities.
“I have learnt to appreciate the different species of snakes, lobsters and other creatures of the sea since becoming a club member. Former club members who have left the village in pursuit of higher education come back to see us whenever they can to share their experiences and knowledge with us,” Muhd Arif said.
Meanwhile, Datuk Md Othman Yusof, executive director of CGPV, who visited Kelab Alami in Kampung Pendas Laut recently, applauded the efforts and achievements of Kelab Alami.
“Kelab Alami can also organise community workshops which offer skills to make handicrafts or build items such as wooden chairs and tables. We can emulate Thailand by manufacturing souvenirs in a local cottage industry to present as gifts to visitors. This would generate income for the village where the profit can be enjoyed by the local community,” Md Othman said.
Md Othman, who was at the clubhouse to hand over a cheque of RM194,450 to the non- governmental organisation, also spent some time to chat with the kids of Kelab Alami.
Md Othman, impressed by the knowledge of these youths and confidence exuded by them, was encouraging them to keep up their good work and continue to strive for a brighter future.
Meanwhile, 90 students of Sekolah Kebangsaan Kampung Simpang Arang who come from low-income families, were treated to to a ‘Back to School’ shopping spree at Giant Hypermarket in Tampoi, courtesy of CGPV.
CGPV corporate communications director Aeron Munajat said the Back to School programme is intended to alleviate their families’ financial burden as they prepare for the new school term.
“We do not want the local folk to feel left out due to the development around their village,” she said.
Aeron added that it was an eye-opening experience for some volunteers who were employees from China.
The programme also allows volunteers to interact with the local community, giving them exposure to the lives of the indigenous people.
Chen Hao, 27, who is an assistant legal advisor at Country Garden Pacificview’s legal department, was among the volunteers who overcame the language barrier to communicate with the Orang Asli children.
“We did not speak the same language, but the children and I found ways to communicate through body or sign language. The children would point at something they wanted to buy for school, (for instance). It is my first time meeting Orang Asli children, and I find that they are as bright and bubbly as any other child I know,” said Chen, who has been working at Forest City in Johor for the past two years.
The treats were not limited to Giant Hypermarket, as the Orang Asli children were also treated to lunch after their shopping excursion.
Country Garden Pacificview plans to adopt SK Kampung Simpang Arang next year, making it an addition to the five primary schools it has adopted since 2015.
The five primary schools are SK Morni Pok, SK Tanjung Adang, SK Tiram Duku, SK Tanjung Kupang and SK Pendas Laut.
Besides youth development and education, Forest City focuses on two other pillars, namely societal development and environmental awareness.
Forest City was under a considerable amount of pressure when it first started due to the knee-jerk reactions of some environmentalists and half-baked as well as over-ripe politicians seeking quick publicity to remain relevant. While the environmental concerns have been addressed and continues to be addressed as the project progresses, it is notable that the political concerns seem to originate only from the Malay politicians. It seems that the Chinese politicians realise the potential this development brings.
In the meantime, Forest City continues to develop and progress, in very notable ways.
A UN Global Model
On the 31st October 2017, Forest City won the Global Model of Green Building Industrial Park for the second consecutive year. The award was part of the Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements Award (SCAHSA) ceremony held in New York.
The SCAHSA award established by the Global Forum on Human Settlement (GFHS), a non-profit organisation with Special Consultative Status within the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). It is a trend setter for urban construction everywhere that respects sustainable development.
Forest City, China’s Wuyi County and Indonesia’s Surabaya City were among the winning entries submitted from 23 countries and regions worldwide. Forest City won the SCAHSA Global Human Settlements Award on Planning and Design at the 11th Global Forum on Human Settlements (GFHS – XI).
Forest City, by taking full advantage of its technical resources, is creating a 1.7-square-kilometer construction-focused industrial park, to promote the development of a green building industry and improve building precision and quality, said Dr. Wang Jiying, vice general manager for overseas business at Country Garden.
Forest City will include several support facilities and a powerful water transportation system, all of which are expected to be operational in 2019, with the aim of creating a truly industrialised manufacturing base for the construction industry over the next three to five years.
Creating Potential Future Workforce
A month and a half ago when I was at Forest City, I was brought to visit one of five schools adopted by Forest City where children are given free Mandarin lessons for three months. This is one of the ways by Forest City to ensure that the local community, especially those in the Tanjung Kupang area, have roles to play in the development.
The result is excellent:
The student above is from the first batch of students who started their Mandarin language course in August 2017 and has graduated. Forest City is not stopping there. Forest City’s master developer, Country Garden Pacificview Sdn Bhd (CGPV), aims to give back to the community by offering three-month basic Mandarin language courses to some 100 school children there.
CGPV plans to continue to offer the Mandarin courses in the future as part of its corporate social responsibility effort for the community here.
“The second intake will be conducted from January until March next year,” Country Garden Pacificview Sdn Bhd corporate communications head Aeron Munajat told reporters when met at SK Tanjong Adang here today where she handed over certificates to the participants.
Aeron said that apart from learning Mandarin as a third language, the three-month language course will also help the students develop self-confidence which will further enhance their competitiveness in the job market in the future.
She said the course involved students and teachers from five schools, namely SK Morni Pok, SK Tanjong Adang, SK Tiram Duku, SK Tanjung Kupang and SK Pendas Laut.
“The classes are conducted every Friday and Saturday from 10am to 12 noon, at the community centre in Kampung Pok,” she added.
Forest City Does Not Pawn Johor Land
The continued but futile attacks on Forest City by Malaysia’s Mugabe and his followers have again earned the ire of His Majesty The Sultan of Johor.
“Has Johor ever pawned its land? What is the meaning of pawning? With Forest City, the state of Johor has increased in size. It is not about seizing land to be pawned. In Johor, there are international lots and Malay reserve land. Anyone can buy at the international zone, be it the Mat Salleh from England or people from India, Japan, China. All of them can purchase it. They can buy (property), but it does not mean they purchase the land to bring it back to their respective home country,” chided the Sultan.
“In Johor, we have an international zone, which means that foreigners could buy. It has international status. In Forest City, we do not sell the land, we sell the strata (titles) and these strata (titles) are for permanent ownership in Johor,” he remarked.
The Sultan added that 40 percent of the investors in Forest City are Malaysians and that even the government has shares in the project, and that the project gave a lot of revenue for the state government, including quit rent and assessment, which the state of Johor benefits.
“How much revenue will the Johor government get? When Forest City is completed, the assessment, quit rent will go to who? Who will get the jobs? There are transportation (initiatives), businesses and job opportunities. Don’t be narrow minded about this,” said the Sultan.
The Sultan also said that the most visible benefit of the Forest City project was the boost it has given to the value of real estate in its surrounding areas, particularly in Pontian district, which is now developing at a rapid pace.
He gave an example of how in the past, the people of Pontian were only picking buah duku (lanzones), but now people in Pontian own Mercedes Benz cars.
“It means that Pontian has become a district that will see rapid development,” the Sultan stressed. “In the past, an acre (0.4 hectares) of land used to cost RM100,000, but now, it is valued up to RM3 million.”
It is no doubt that Forest City will boost the Iskandar region’s marketability. With consumer prices 100 percent higher than in Malaysia, rent prices 500 percent higher than in Malaysia, many companies in Singapore were driven to relocate to Iskandar, while Johor Bahru’s shopping malls, food outlets and amusement parks have become a favourite for Singaporeans. Bangkok’s recent wish for Malaysia to extend its High Speed Rail into Thailand will soon make the Iskandar Econmic Region attractive to the millionaires and billionaires of Indochina. And the green, affordable buildings of Forest City will definitely be a hit.
While they all win, the real winners will be the people of Johor and Malaysia.
The development of Forest City, one of Johor’s iconic development on the western half of the southern coast of the state, is proceeding well and is on time. When completed, the southern-most man-made island of the project will be just two kilometers away from Singapore’s Tuas.
A little over two years ago, the project area was under three meters deep of sea water. Now, a hotel stands completed as do a commercial block as well as an office block, with a beach fronting Tuas. Aptly named “Hotel Phoenix”, the 280-room four-star hotel has already begun to receive guests, and is now one of the favourite venues in southern Johor for international conferences and events. Even Jack Ma’s Alibaba had an event here in late September 2017.
This 20-year development is already into its second year, but has been the subject of several controversies, depending on which side of the fence you are viewing the issue from.
700,000 New Citizens
One of the issues raised by the Opposition is the prospect of 700,000 mainland Chinese obtaining Malaysian citizenship after staying at Forest City for several years. Opposition fear-mongers have been selling this idea to the worried locals who fear that their voice would be drowned by these prospective new citizens.
I threw this idea to an English friend of mine who is married to a Malay woman and have four children, to see if the fear is real.
“Bo****ks!” he exclaimed, scoffing at the idea. “I’ve been married and staying here in Malaysia for 22 years now and I still haven’t got my citizenship. If they think it’s that easy, I will gladly pay the person who could give me my Malaysian identity card.”
But will there actually be 700,000 Chinese from China residing at Forest City? Apparently not. Buyers include people from the Middle East, Thailand, India and Singapore. Forest City was already attracting these buyers even before China tightened the outflow of its currency. Buyers from China have snapped up 70 percent of the early-sale properties there before the measure by China came into effect.
“The number of withdrawals caused by the cashflow controls is about 60, compared with the 15,000-unit sales by the end of 2016, the bulk of which were sold to Chinese buyers. We have to look at the issue in perspective. If we are not confident about Forest City, we will not be investing some RM470 million to build a factory to manufacture ready-to-assemble concrete structures like staircases, beams and columns,” said Dr Yu Runze, President and Chief Strategy Officer of Country Garden Pacific View Sdn Bhd., the developer of the project.
Carving Out Malaysia’s Land To Make It China’s
As a state, Johor has jurisdiction of its land including the foreshore according to the National Land Code, 1965 and its territorial sea jutting out 3 nautical miles according to Section 3(3) of the Territorial Sea Act, 2012.
While Section 76 of the National Land Code includes a proviso that does not allow the foreshore and part of the sea bed to be disposed by the state authority for a period exceeding ninety-nine years, Forest City’s reclamation starts beyond the low-water mark of ordinary spring tides. Unlike the reclamations off Pulau Pinang, a bridge connects the man-made island to the mainland rendering it possible for the Johor state government to allow the developer to obtain a freehold status for the reclaimed portion, anything within the three-nautical mile limit.
Therefore, no part of the mainland was ever carved to become part of Forest City, nor was there a major displacement of people to make way for the apartment buildings and hotels of the development. A freehold land does not mean that it belongs to another country. As mentioned, anything that is within 3 nautical miles including the seabed comes under the state authority while from that point up until 12 nautical miles comes under the Federal authority. The state has the power to acquire the land under the Land Acquisition Act, 1960. hence the sovereignty of the nation is not compromised in any manner.
Forest City Is A China Project And Employs Only Chinese Citizens
The project is being developed by Country Garden Pacific View Sdn Bhd (CGPV), a Johor-China joint-venture company where the China partner has 60 percent equity in the JV, while the Malaysian partners hold 40.
CGPV executive director Datuk Md Othman Yusof said that as at end of September 2017, 859 out of 1397, or 61.4 percent of its workers are Malaysians. This includes the staff at the CGPV Industrial Building System plant in Tanjung Kupang.
Datuk Othman said that it was a decree by His Majesty the Sultan of Johor himself that there should be at least 70 percent staff that are Malaysians. “After only two years we already have 61.4 percent,” he added. “The only difficult part is getting Malaysians who could work as well under intense pressure on the construction side. Many joined but left as they could not match the discipline of the Chinese workers.”
Dr Yu added that of its RM4.7 billion (S$1.5 billion) capital expenditure (capex) spent between early 2015 and December 2016, about RM2 billion, or 42.55 per cent, was spent on the services provided by local consultancy firms and construction materials.
“Cement, sand and other materials were bought locally. We did not import them from China. We also use consultancies such as law firms, planners and architects, to name some. So, it is untrue to say that Forest City has not benefited Malaysia or its people,” he remarked.
Forest City Is The Cause Of Pollution?
To blame the pollution of the Tebrau Strait solely on Forest City alone is not fair. There was already pollution in that area because of the Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP), and 60-odd projects taking place along the Sungai Danga and Sungai Pulai which too affect the Tebrau Strait.
According to Dr Serina Rahman of Kelab Alami, an environmental NGO based in Tanjung Kupang, intially the reclamation works for the Forest City project was worrisome as the waters off Tanjung Kupang is rich with marine life including sea grass.
“The sea grass has spread to the left of the development where there is more water movement. The seahorses are still there, the dugongs are still there, it’s just that they don’t come near the sand barges as they are noisy. There are other patches of sea grass closer to the port (PTP) so the dugongs are there,” she said in an interview.
“The waters off this area isn’t deep. Where Forest City is now was a place for the prawn fishermen to fish for prawns. When the reclamation started, their catch was affected,” she added. “However, the number of prawns have increased tremendously in this area and if you ask any of the fishermen, they will tell you that they are getting more prawns nowadays. Somehow, the sand that is being used to reclaim the area has brought more prawn species here. They may be invasive but I don’t think the fishermen are complaining.”
According to Dr Yu, Forest City was planned as a single 20-square kilometer island. “However, after doing the Environmental Impact Assessment we found that there is a huge patch of sea grass in the middle of where the island should be and decided to preserve it. So, we made Forest City into a four-island development instead – just for the sea grass,” he explained.
“We strive to protect the environment, knowing how important it is for the ecosystem to be able to flourish,” he said. “And because of what we are doing for the sea grass, our neighbour the PTP is also taking measures to protect the aquatic environment.”
I was happy to be shown photos of marine life off the Forest City project that include the Hippocampus kuda seahorses and the Jorunna funebris nudibranch.
Investing In Future Employees
‘Prosper Thy Neighbour’ is something that the management at CGPV holds on to. To increase the chances of employability, Forest City has embarked on several initiatives including providing free Mandarin and English language classes for the fishermen of Tanjung Kupang.
According to Shalan Jum’at, co-founder of Kelab Alami, Forest City has given funds to assist the local fishing community to buy nets and tools to repair them, and have set up a net-service centre at the Kelab Alami clubhouse. The fishermen would gather there to learn English and Mandarin from tutors provided by Forest City. This prepares the fishermen for the possibility of providing eco-tourism services for foreign tourists and future residents of Forest City.
Five local schools have also been adopted by Forest City where the children are being given Mandarin language classes financed by Forest City. Schools such as SK Tiram Duku in Tanjung Kupang are being prepared as future employees and service providers for the foreigners residing at Forest City.
“We would like to be inclusive and ask the Orang Asli in the surrounding areas to provide guides for eco-tourists but it is so difficult to change their mindset.” explained Dr Yu when asked about the involvement of the local Orang Asli at Forest City.
This was confirmed by Encik Noore bin Kasi, the Tok Batin or village headman of Kampung Orang Asli Simpang Arang.
“We would like to get involved in eco-tourism but it is difficult because the Orang Asli have difficulty to change their way of life,” he said of the difficulty faced. “They think that this (Forest City) project does not benefit them. They are wrong! Eco-tourism will definitely benefit them. Development comes at a very fast pace but the mindset of the Orang Asli is too slow to catch up.”
He stressed that the situation is made worse by the presence of outsiders, in particular NGOs that are anti-government that have been coming in and out of the village to spread negative views about the project and the government to the Orang Asli community. He is afraid that the opportunity to benefit from the project will get lesser as time go by, and if the Orang Asli are being bombarded with lies continuously, they will lose out.
How would Forest City help the locals? According to Datuk Md Othman, Forest City is aimed at foreign buyers, not Malaysians. This is to ensure that foreigners take up only what is being sold at Forest City, leaving the development on mainland Johor up for grabs by the locals.
“This is how Johor ensures that the local market is not spoilt,” he added.
Whether or not there is cashflow controls imposed by China, the rich Chinese who already have investments worldwide would still come to Forest City to buy properties.
Dr Yu is equally optimistic. “Forest City is within the One Belt, One Road initiative area. The High Speed Rail ensures connectivity between Forest City and the rest of Asia especially Thailand, and India. People with investments here from the Middle East or China can fly into Senai airport direct and not have to transit at KLIA. I am certain the cashflow control is just a temporary measure to make sure that they know where are the money being invested, and Forest City being a China-involved development project will surely see a surge in investors from China once everything has been consolidated.”
With more sales offices being opened in the Middle East and in Indonesia, Forest City will definitely achieve its target.
Dr Yu said, unlike Langkawi, Tioman or nearby Stulang, the island was not duty-free, but has a portion that is designated as a duty-free area. Within this duty-free area is a township, so that its population will be able to enjoy a lower cost of living because the retail goods and consumables will cost a lot less.
“Many things in Forest City will be “unprecedented”, so in that sense, the project will be exciting,” Yu said.
And for as long as Forest City exists, it will surely continue give good life to the people of southern Johor.
Rasanya dah berbuih dah penerangan diberikan mengenai perkara ini. Bhaiya Bangladesh kontrak mungkin telah faham sefahamnya akan penerangan tersebut. Tetapi sebab penerangan ini bukan diberikan dalam bahasa ibunda beliau maka agak sukar bagi beliau memahami.
Kemudian, Najib Razak pula yang dipersalahkan. Bukankah Forest City perihal tanah negeri Johor? Apa kena-mengena dengan kerajaan pusat? Masing-masing negeri ada unit perancang ekonominya sendiri.
Kenapa tak salahkan Tuanku Sultan Johor? Tak berani macam rakan sekapal beliau?
Memang Forest City bakal mendapat status bebas cukai. Apa masalahnya? Langkawi juga masih pulau bebas cukai.
Kalau Mahathir gunakan Internet sewajarnya dan bukan untuk menyebarkan fitnah semata-mata maka beliau pasti mengetahui bahawa kenyataan beliau bahawa status bebas cukai Langkawi akan ditarik balik hanyalah pembohongan yang nyata.
Apa yang diumum kerajaan adalah hanya kedai-kedai berlesen sahaja yang akan dibenarkan menjual barangan rokok dan arak bebas cukai di Langkawi.
Begitu juga langkah untuk meminta pemilik kenderaan yang berdaftar di Langkawi mengemukakan jaminan bank sebelum boleh dibenarkan membawa kenderaan mereka keluar dari pulau tersebut. Ini adalah untuk mengatasi kepincangan yang berlaku sejak sekian lama.
Mengenai pinjaman oleh warga China pula, itu semua cerita basi yang diulang berkali-kali. Saya maafkan beliau. Bercerita sesuatu berulang kali ini ada hubungkaitnya dengan penyakit nyanyuk. Mungkin suatu hari nanti beliau akan memandang kepada anak beliau dan bertanya, “Hang apanama?” berkali-kali juga.
Sebenarnya saya kasihankan beliau. Pernah disanjung ramai suatu masa dahulu tetapi pernah ditolak sebagai perwakilan oleh Bahagian sendiri semasa masih dalam parti angkat beliau, UMNO. Namun beliau masih tidak sedarkan diri.
Kini beliau hanya mampu merangkak sambil menjilat kahak hijau yang diludahnya dahulu sambil ditunggangi oleh joki-joki yang mengharapkan kemenangan seekor kaldai tua.
Sudah-sudahlah berbohong. Kita tak boleh hidup selama-lamanya. Janganlah diikuti perangai Rafizi. Beliau rasa beliau masih muda.