KUALA LUMPUR, May 26 — Malaysia Rubber Board (MRB) chairman Datuk Ahmad Nazlan Idris said the RM100 million Eastern Province Rubber Technology Centre project said to be in his parliamentary constituency has yet to be approved and is currently only in the planning phase.
The Jerantut MP and Jerantut Division Umno chief, however, did not deny the project’s existence, saying that it will be brought before the relevant ministry and Cabinet for approval after a comprehensive review.
“I would like to point out that the status of the project, as stated in media reports, was the result of an idea by the Malaysian Rubber Board (MRB). It is still in the planning stage and not yet considered or approved by the LGM board of directors, Ministry of Plantation and Commodity Industries (MPIC) and the government.
“This project will be taken up for approval following a comprehensive review and its impact on other research facilities under the LGM before it is presented to the Board of Directors of LGM. Only after approval of the new board will the project be brought before MPIC and government approval,” he said in a statement today.
LGM is the Malay acronym for the Malaysia Rubber Board, or Lembaga Getah Malaysia.
Ahmad Nazlan said MRB has deemed research projects to be important as they could help add value to the rubber industry in Malaysia by increasing revenue and exploring new avenues to benefit the country from the upstream (rubber plantation), midstream (rubber processing) and downstream (rubber product manufacturing) sectors.
“MRB, through strategic planning and research needs, requires an area to build a rubber technology research centre. The main objective of the development of technology research centres in different parts of Malaysia, including the East Coast, is to ensure the future of the country’s rubber industry, with upstream and downstream revenue being equally enhanced for the sustainability of the Malaysian rubber industry
“Please be informed that any land development approval process serves as a research centre through a comprehensive process whereby after a detailed research paper and proposal have been presented by the LGM management and approved by the LGM board, it will need to get the approval of the minister and Cabinet before it can be executed,” he said.
Yesterday, former primary industries minister and Seputeh MP Teresa Kok criticised the government’s practice of political appointments when accusing Ahmad Nazlan of rushing a RM100 million project in his parliamentary constituency within a month of his appointment.
Kok claimed that history was repeating itself as the previous MRB chairman, Jasin MP Datuk Seri Ahmad Hamzah, did the same by ordering an unnecessary RM44 million project in his constituency in 2010.
The project, she said, then turned out to be a white elephant and MRB was still paying millions of ringgit beyond the original cost for the incomplete project.
Ahmad Nazlan was appointed to the position in April along with three PAS leaders, Kedah Mentri Besar Mohd Sanusi Mohd Noor, Nurul Islam Mohamed Yusoff dan Muhammad Ismi Mat Taib after Perikatan Nasional took over Putrajaya.
Kok’s replacement in the ministry is Kuala Nerus MP, Datuk Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali.
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