100-storey tower: Najib, define 'viable'

your say'I thought PNB has done its feasibility study. Now we're hearing the project is to be done if found viable. What's going on here?'

Najib defends mega-tower plan despite Dr M's call

Cala: PM Najib Razak, just what exactly do you mean by viability? Is viability measured in the typical neo-classical sense of demand and supply where it is so easy to force some government departments to occupy it at exorbitant rental rates that, in the end, are borne by taxpayers' money?

Or do you mean viability in the new institutional economics sense where all factors are being considered (both endogenous and exogenous) in the real sense of the world?

In this era of high awareness and where informational flow is a lot more fluid, the regime cannot fool the people all the time. Already Kuala Lumpur folks are sick of the perennial traffic jams, low-quality environment, high-crime rates, impersonal city life, and a shortage of recreational outlets.

To add another monstrous building to a chaotic situation will, in no way, alleviate the dire condition. Indeed, it is high time the regime realigns its agenda with the people's interest in mind, or else it is justified that they get a boot in the coming general elections.

Anonymous: Najib, it was only after Mahathir's comment yesterday that you started to say about its viability. Sometimes I wonder who is actually the prime minister.

By the way, the number of skyscrapers in a city doesn't show how advanced the city is. Look at Pudong, China, and its air pollution. I definitely don't want to see that in KL. Furthermore, the number of skyscrapers mushrooming in Pudong were mainly from private initiatives, not from government-linked companies or the government.

Look at KL, how many of the skyscrapers were from private sector? We can even count with our fingers. Building human resources is the key to achieving developed country status, not by the number of skyscrapers. This is something everyone knows, except Umno/BN politicians.

Mamad: This whole episode developed slowly. First, the announcement of the Warisan Tower in Budget 2011. Then, Najib said it is not a government project or the project will be using public funds. It's supposed to be a PNB project. But DPM Muhyiddin Yassin instructed PNB to proceed with the plan despite objections from the people.

Then, Dr Mahathir Mohamad said we don't need to build the tower. It is basically to make way for Najib to say the episode will be closed, because the government is willing to listen to the people. After all, 250,000 people didn't sign up in Facebook for nothing.

Najib and gang have riled up a quarter million of people with a project that is clearly stupid.

AkuMelayu: PM, it is wise to listen to Dr Mahathir. Give it a deep thought. I believe that whatever decision you reach regarding this project will be made after a careful study.

Yobama: Whether viable or not, it can be 'fixed'. It depends on your assumptions on many things - like the rate of occupancy when the building is ready, the rental that can be charged from potential tenants (revenue side), the actual cost of the building, including cost overruns, delivery date, which depend on cost of materials, cost of labour, interest rates, etc.

The viability will also depend on the life of the project. All these depend on assumptions. But I thought PNB has done its feasibility study and informed the PM after it was found that the project was viable?

Now we are hearing that the project will only be done if found to be viable. What's going on here? Can somebody explain to the rakyat?

Anonymous: The only thing acceptable would be for the tower to be built and paid for by private finance without involving public monies or government guarantees at any stage.

But we have heard this sort of BN promise before, haven't we? PKFZ and the tuna landing port in Batu Maung comes to mind. The taxpayers are left holding the bag - there are billions in unpaid bonds just from these two "private" projects.

Change agent: The only continuity referred by Najib that is obvious is one of continued wastage, excess, mismanagement and lack of accountability in successive government administrations.

When Najib makes random comparisons to Shanghai's skyline, it shows that he is merely wanting to keep up with the Joneses to boost his own inflated ego. There is no concern for public consultation whatsoever to see if our tax money can be better spent in other areas to benefit more people.

Stingray: Prime Minister, how does the expenditure impact the development of Kuala Lumpur, especially private investment in commercial properties? Aren't there better ways of spending such enormous sum of money that will benefit the rakyat and make their livelihood easier?

Disgusted: The tower is Najib's way of leaving a legacy of having built the tallest, eclipsing Mahathir's twin towers. It's all an egocentric exercise at the expense of the rakyat. RM5 billion could be used to alleviate a lot of KL's transportation problem. Who needs a tower that will cause more congestion in the area?

SusahKes: Najib, if you haven't even ascertained its financial viability, then why did you announce it in the national budget? Was it because you were hoping that the announcement would elicit some "yippee" claps from your "I help you, you help me" Umno elites, whom you had to face days following the last budget?

Any finance man worth his salt will tell you that you don't announce figures to the board or the public unless you have done a feasibility study. So?


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