By Roslan Mutu
KUCHING, Feb 27: The announcement that the federal government will be experimenting with a flying car by the end of the year has sent a wrong signal to Sarawakians, who are grappling with the lack of infrastructure such as roads, bridges, clinics and hospitals, and also treated water and electricity for schools.
Former Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar opined that the Pakatan Harapan government should instead focus on the urgent needs of the people.
“Why doesn’t the federal government see the basic infrastructure needs of our country, all the projects that had been approved by the federal government before May 2018 and implement them with the money, skill and ability that the government has now?
“We can talk about roads, bridges, hospitals, schools, hospitals, clinics, water, electricity, Internet and Wifi penetration, coastal bund, flood mitigation, etc. Look into those RM200,000 to RM100 million projects that will benefit the people but have been postponed or cancelled after May 2018.
“Please don’t dream too much when you see Petronas’ money coming in unless you dream of putting it in Sarawak to satisfy Sarawak’s needs. We are still so far behind in infrastructure and basic needs,” the Santubong MP told DayakDaily today.
According to him, he had raised these matters during his speech at the launching of Wawasan 2020 in 1993 and repeated them many times over in Parliament.
“I repeated it again when former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak launched his High Income Nation and Advanced Country policy in 2010.
“I said, ‘The success of the federal government’s policy should not be seen from what we could see in Kuala Lumpur, Johor Baru, Penang, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu. It must be judged how well we bring similar development, be it infrastructure, economic or social, of equal standing to the rural areas in Sarawak.”
Wan Junaidi was commenting on a news report that quoted Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Seri Redzuan Md Yusof as saying that Malaysia’s first ever flying car driven by local technology was expected to be unveiled this year and that the prototype of the car already existed.
“Actually, the federal government is only busy with making publicity, finding faults of the previous government and leaders. For the last 10 months, they have not produced anything positive and encouraging. They almost relegated Malaysia into a ‘banana republic’, repudiating, rescinding existing government contracts, introducing weird policies and administrative directions.”
Wan Junaidi added that in terms of technology such as that for flying cars, more advanced countries like Japan, South Korea and the USA were still talking about driverless/steeringless cars. Some experts are still pondering the legal, social and practical issues arising from these vehicles being put on the road.
“Being a lawyer, I can see their scepticisms from a legal perspective. I was watching a programme on artificial intelligence on TV Channel 571 last night (Feb 26), but here we are talking about flying cars.”
He admitted that Dubai was experimenting with it and many enthusiasts were privately experimenting with flying cars, but not the government.
“Perhaps, big car makers and aircraft makers like Boeing and Airbus too may be experimenting on their own prototypes. The producers of the wonderful machines. All new things take time. Electric cars and motorcycles. And how long did it take Malaysian bureaucracy to decide on putting it on the road, 10 years or was it more?
“We still don’t see many of this eco-friendly, non-polluting and light machines on our road. What happened? China’s cities like Shuzu (three-and-half hours’ drive from Shanghai) has millions already on the road.
“Yet, until today, the countries of the world are still facing problems with drones — the laws, procedures, and rules of operations. A UK airport suffered ‘shut down’ because of drones, and where are we here?”
Wan Junaidi, however, was quick to point out that he was not against advanced technology.
“I am for it. I welcome the efforts universities, research centres, big companies and individuals who are passionate, able and willing to try, experiment and making an effort. I would love to see the nation achieve something technologically significant and useful, not only for us but as our contribution to the world.
“But please remember that even to change the mould of a car body part requires hundreds of millions in investment, if not billions of ringgit or USD. This RM1 million we are talking about, what are they going to do with that kind of money? Hanging or welding a light buggy to a drone and flying it, like we did with Proton Perdana, paste a Proton logo on a Honda and waloaway, we have Pronda!” — DayakDaily