WHICH AGENCY OR MINISTRY REALLY MONITORS THE CORRIDOR DEVELOPMENT ADMINISTRATION & MANAGEMENT IN MALAYSIA?
The management and administration was done by various company set up by government under various Parliament Acts as follows:
ECER- ECER Development Council (ECERDC)
NCER – Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA)
IDR – Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA)
SCORE – Regional Corridor Development Authority (RECODA)
SDC – Sabah Economic Development & Industrial Authority (SEDIA)
The Unit Kerjasama Awam & Swasta (UKAS) oversees the consolidation of corridors under Jabatan Perdana Menteri and Minister in charge is the one in charge of Economic Planning Unit (EPU).
There are already many people already involved in the state development earlier, and the formation of state investment promotion vehicle (InvestPenang, KedahInvest, InvestPerak, InvestMelaka etc) added to the crowded promotion agencies for FDI & DDI in Malaysia. In addition, there is the existence and presence of MIDA in KL, overseas and their offices in every state. The state economic development agency is also involved in every state.
Therefore, when the Corridor was introduced, it has added another layer of agency involved in attracting FDIs to Malaysia. The people employed to manage the Corridors (ECER, NCER , IRDA, SCORE and SDC) has added more people employed to promote investment in Malaysia. Take for instance Penang, it has MIDA, InvestPenang, PDC and now NCIA. In Kedah, there are MIDA, Kedah Invest, KTPC, PKNK and NCIA.
What has puzzled most people is that IDR ECER and IRDA is employing more people than it should and their salary is astronomical. The question is who is exactly paying all their salaries? Is it the Government or the companies itself?. The revenue for all the authority is not derived from land lease as it is gained by the state. Therefore most likely the Government is paying for all their salaries. IRDA employs more than 90 employees, ECERDC employs about 60 employees, NCIA employs about 60 personnel as well. It is well known in the market that ECER is supported by PETRONAS, has 10 GM’s and their salary scale is among the highest in the market. It presently has an office in KLCC. A rough estimation gives the salary of GM is ECERDC at RM25K and VP in NCIA at RM16K. Even Senior Managers at ECERDC start at RM18K. Not bad for a salary scale of a new agency set up during Pak Lah administration. This perhaps could be attributed to the factor that most of the GM’s were seconded from PETRONAS.
The NCIA used to have a KL office, but has moved lock stock and barrel to Penang in end 2009 under Dato Redza Rafiq as the Chief Executive. NCIA still maintain a satellite office in Cyberjaya, the former place where Dato Redza worked. It was reported that apart from having VPs in each Division (Manufacturing, Tourism, Agriculture, Logistics and & Education & Human Capital), he also has employed three VP’s under his office and a Manager, upon taking the CE position in late 2009. Why do you need to employ more VP’s under the CE office when there are many VP’s around to do the same job? Again if we look at their offices, NCIA have one in Jalan Residensi, Penang as their HQ, Alor Setar, satellite office in Bayan Lepas and Cyberjaya. Why not consolidate the office into one central location such as in Kulim Hi-Tech Park (KHTP)? This a national project, fully funded by Federal Government, having lots of empty spaces, especially the one at the Ground Floor of the KHTP Business Centre. It is centrally located in the Northern Region. One wonder why in the first place an old bungalow in Jalan Residensi was chosen as a Corridor Development Authority office, when everyone knows that Penang always has traffic jams, and the area chosen is not very strategic. One wonders what image are they trying to project by having their office there? Perhaps it was the idea of the Chief Executive before Dato Redza came in.
Also reportedly even the GM of one of the corridor management company can freely employs someone (or should I say his girlfriend) from his former company and seems like trying to create his own little empire in this Government related company by taking in his friends and cronies.
Another question that arises is that the payment of bonuses not being standardized. It was reported that ECERDC, NCIA and IRDA employees received three months bonus for 2010. RECODA, on the other hand received only RM1000 following Government trend. No information is obtained from SEDIA though. RECODA has about 10 employees and is lean in terms of organizational structure for a Corridor Development Authority outfit.
It is important for the Federal Government apart from promoting the ETP/GTP/NKRA/NKEA, should also look into the cost saving and productivity of Government related agencies. Perhaps PEMANDU can initiate a lab to study lowering cost of administration in terms of promotion of FDIs, when there seems to be hiring more people these days. There seems to be many more being set up when we are being told that MIDA is already being efficient in promoting FDIs and doing a good job. IPA should be lean and mean, and there should not be fighting to increase manpower just to show that they are doing more work.
When we talk about The Performance Management & Delivery Unit
(PEMANDU), we are entering into a new entity, which in my mind only reports what in being invested in Corridors, rebranded as EPP/Entry Point Project (EPP). Interestingly in addition, they were also given a budget for the NKEA projects. Therefore combining the EPP and NKEA, PEMANDU is in the driving seat reporting direct to the Prime Minister. One should envy Datuk Seri Idris Jala, being the CEO of PEMANDU, which was given all the budgets needed, unlike so many other agencies. In discharging their duties, they are also promoting FDIs. FDIs can still be reported under MIDA or UKAS direct, and Malaysia still gets the FDIs.
Now, armed with the new term Gross National Income (GNI), complicated tables and models, PEMANDU seems to be grabbing the limelight with every announcement of EPPs by the Prime Minister in the billions. The question now is whether PEMANDU is also being turned an Investment Promotion Agency (IPA), like MIDA/state IPA/Corridor Authority? It is, then we should disband altogether the Corridor Development Authorities.
What we can deduce from the examples given is that no one in the country really monitors the Corridor, even though ultimately the Prime Minister and Chief Minister of every state sits as Board Members of their relevant Corridors. It can be termed as loosely being governed by UKAS and the Board Members and the respective advisers. They can hire who ever they like and become their own little boss in their own turf without anyone voicing anything.
Come to think of it, the Corridors Authority should be shut down and only maintained as a Unit each in UKAS. The state involved in the Corridors has often complained that Corridor Authority is taking away their allocation from the Federal Government.
It is also reported that a RM100 million was given to the Corridors of which a fraction was meant as start-up grant for them, for their salary and overhead cost. This brings to question on what is the long-term survival of corridor development agencies, whether they can survive in the same model now, i.e. no source of revenue for continuation of paying so many high salaried employees and three-month bonus in the long-run. This is for the EPU Minister and CEO of PEMANDU to think and draw out a long-term sustainability plan for the survival of Corridor Development Authorities.