Saturday, October 23, 2010

chill, will ya?


It's actually been 4 months since I last posted something. Since I started eons ago, the longest I had gone without saying something was a month. Usually never longer than a couple of weeks! It's not to say that I've been busy, but priorities do change. And if you haven't figured out, writing to random strangers on the Internet hasn't been deemed as sufficiently important in the context of my life.

But I still like writing, and last I checked (in the mirror), I am still a narcissist, so I shall keep writing because a part of me believes that it is important that I influence as many people as I can.

And so that brings me to the hot topic of the moment - the fact that the Prime Minister announced in that "they" were gonna build a 100-storey tower (with a really, really unimaginative name). Now cue the general outrage from the general public. Cue to various online petitions, and Facebook groups. And of course, cue opposition from erm, the opposition party.


No, seriously.

How can you declare point blank that you agree or disagree without arming yourself with proper facts? Aren't we all matured adults? Is nobody capable of a rational thought process? How can you decide you don't like something even before you hear them out?

Can you imagine at work, you have what you think is a great idea, and you knock on your boss' door:

You: Boss, I have this brilliant idea, let's call it Project X, we could combin....

Boss: What?!? Project X? No that's a fucking stupid idea! Get out of my room!

You: But boss, if we implement this idea, we could save RM120 thous..........

Boss: Who cares? It's a stupid idea we could do better things with the money like buy a new microwave for the pantry

You: But boss, we could also cut manpow.....

Boss: No no no no no no no stupid stupid stupid stupid la la la la la

I sure hope none of the you have a boss like that, and I certainly hope none of you shoots down your employees' ideas like that!

But that is exactly what most people are doing today!

We are shooting down an idea without hearing them out! Nobody, and I mean NOBODY has been able to answer these questions, and without the answers to these questions, how can you make an informed decision?

Before you start agreeing or disagreeing with this project, perhaps a few simple questions to guide you along the way.....

1. Who is funding this project? I mean really....if it is funded by PNB, as they say it is, then again we ask, where are they getting the money from? If it is through their Amanah Saham, then surely the holders of the unit trust should be the ones to decide? If they are using their internally generated funds, then what's the problem - it's not your money, it's not even the government's money! And if they are raising external debt, say, by issuing bonds, then again, it's the bond holders' call, innit?

If people think it is worth investing in, then they will pour money in, if people think it is a stupid project, then they won't put in money and the proposal will meet it's death. Either way, it is an economic project, not a social regardless of whether the tower is going to be built or not, investors are not going to pour that RM5 billion or so into building schools or roads - that is for the government to do, nothing to do with the private sector!

2. What is the projected office space requirements in the next 10 years? Sure, it is easy to say that there is a glut currently (which there is) but if you have not seen the projections, how would you know if there would be enough office space in 10 years time? You have to consider the fact that this project is running concurrently with the Economic Transformation Programme with numerous amounts of projects slated to roll out in the coming years. Whether the ETP materializes is a story for another day, but how do we know what the projected outcome of it will be?

3. What is the knock-on effect of this project on the economy? How much will our economy grow with the multiplier effects in place? What sort of jobs would be created in constructing and then sustaining this project? How will the surrounding areas be affected - real estate prices will shoot through the roof - what sort of effect will that bring?

So really, you guys out there are complaining and protesting over the wrong thing. What we should ask for, what we should demand is to see the feasibility study of the project - get the facts, then once you know for sure what you are talking about, then please, feel free to air your opinions, but before that, try to seek out some answers before jumping the gun.