The Paya Indah Wetlands finally opened its gates to the public on Oct 20, 2008 – over two years late. Actually it a reopening but PERHILITAN called it "Soft Launching".
According to Sun2Surf website, RM88 Million was dumped into this wetlands project. Initially RM68 million poured into the project but the government pumped in an additional RM20 million to salvage the venture which was doomed from the start.
With the alleged total investment of RM88 million and RM10 entrance fee, Paya Indah Wetlands need to have 8 million visitors to break even. Let us say that there are 500 daily visitors on average visiting PIW, it would roughly takes 160,000 days (or 5,333 months or 444 years!) to recoup the cost.
It is really dumping millions into the swamp.
* Shock and awe of Barisan Nasional typical economy
Flawed from the start
by Terence Fernandez
YESTERDAY, we opened another monument to mismanagement and overspending. The Paya Indah Wetlands finally opened its gates to the public – over two years late. After pouring RM68 million into the project, the government pumped in an additional RM20 million to salvage the venture which was doomed from the start.
It is going to take decades to recoup our losses. The RM10 entrance fee will only go so far in getting back the people’s money which was spent on the project – another mega brainchild of the former regime, with Malaysian Wetlands Foundation CEO Muralee Menon as the runner.
To date, no one has been made to answer for the million-ringgit fiasco. Muralee was even appointed to the Sports Advisory Panel.
An expose by this paper’s special reporting team over a year back revealed serious flaws and breaches of financial standards and accepted norms in transparency and accountability, where the CEO was allowed to be the sole signatory to cheques of over RM80,000. There were also cases of changing horses mid-stream, where consultants and contractors were hired and fired as often as one changes his briefs.
An RM800,000 restaurant is another testimony to the extravagances with people’s money.
So, while we can thump our chests and say we have yet another "world-class tourist attraction", we must not be blind-sided by the fact that a lot of money has been poured into a failed project. Yes. It is a failed project if close to RM100 million can be spent on a scheme that could have been realised for less than RM10 million.
And while taxpayers lost out, there are several individuals who have laughed all the way to the bank, thanks to the folly of some who got their positions not on merit but by having the right connections.
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