Amid debate over China’s investments in Malaysia, a DAP lawmaker wants the government to disclose China’s role in the RM200 billion Carey Island Port plan.
Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong said that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and Liow must inform Malaysians whether the project would be entirely funded by private investors from China or involve allocation of government funds.
“Who pays for what is an important question. RM 200 billion is a lot of money for Malaysians of multiple generations to pay if the proposed project fails like the Port Klang Free Zone,” said Liew, who noted that the federal budget for 2017 is RM260 billion.
China keen on Putrajaya’s invitation
Port Klang Authority chairperson Kong Cho Ha had earlier said China is “keen on developing the whole place”.
“In China, every port is developing capacity now. We need to do something big to trade with them. Otherwise, we will be forever small,” Kong told The Star earlier this month.
Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai last year reportedly said the government has invited China to jointly develop the Carey Island deep sea port to service Chinese ships.
The government was then in talks with state-owned China Merchants Group (CMG).
Kong had said the RM200 billion will cover cost of reclamation and building of supporting infrastructure.
He said as Port Klang is congested and without the Carey Island Port, Port Klang will always play second fiddle to the Port of Singapore.
However, the DAP MP said, the government has yet to establish why there is a need for a new port in Klang as there are already proposals to expand existing ports.
Twice the size of Putrajaya
Liew had raised similar questions on the Melaka Gateway Project which reportedly involved some US$10 billion of investments from China.
Liow last October said the upcoming Melaka Gateway Port in Pulau Panjang is set to attract 100,000 vessels annually once the project is completed in 2019.
He also said that 70 per cent to 80 per cent of the ships will be from China.
The Carey Island project will see the construction of a port-industrial city covering more than 100 square feet – more than the size of Putrajaya.
It is expected to handle an annual 30 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent unit) of container cargo, more than the existing Northport and Westport facilities combined.
Port Klang, the 12th busiest port in the world, handled 13.2 million TEUs in 2015. It has a maximum capacity of 16 million TEUs.
Port of Singapore handled 30.9 million TEUs in 2015.