Sunday, May 18, 2008

Iskandar Malaysia a project for Singapore to grow, says Mahathir

source: thestar via malaysia-today
JOHOR BARU: The Iskandar Malaysia project is a platform for Singapore to expand its sovereignty, said former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He explained that the project was intended to lure Singaporeans and Malay land would be sold to them for 10 times its worth.

“After the land is sold, the Malays will be driven to live at the edge of the forest and even the forest itself.

“In the end, the area in the Iskandar Malaysia will be filled with Singaporeans and populated with only 15% Malays,” he said yesterday during a forum and dialogue on the recent general election organised by Johor Umno grassroots and

Meanwhile, former Parit Sulong MP Datuk Noraini Ahmad (Datuk Ruhanie Ahmad, –ed.) said the project was designed to ease the creation of “Singapura Raya” where Singapore wanted to expand its land area.

Earlier in a statement as Perdana Global Peace Organisation chairman, Dr Mahathir condemned the move to allow American oil and gas company Halliburton to set up its RM200mil manufacturing plant in Iskandar Malaysia.

He said more than a million Iraqis had died when the United States invaded Iraq, and firms such as Halliburton had benefited from American control of oil flow in West Asia.

Dr Mahathir said the Government should not allow such companies to channel their ill-gotten profits to Malaysia.

Agence France-Presse - 5/18/2008 4:59 AM GMT
Project could force Malays from key state: Mahathir
Wealthy Singaporean investors may force ethnic Malays from a Malaysian state being touted as a key economic zone, former premier Mahathir Mohamad has warned.

Malaysia launched an ambitious project in 2006 to transform the idyllic southern Johor state into a metropolis to woo foreign investment and compete with neighbouring Singapore for manufacturing and logistics businesses.

Mahathir said the 17.7 billion-ringgit (4.8 billion-dollar) Iskandar Malaysia project was aimed at luring Singaporean investors and could see Malays forced out.

"After the land is sold, the Malays will be driven to live at the edge of the forest and even in the forest itself," Mahathir said in a weekend speech in Johor, the Star newspaper reported.

"In the end, the area in Iskandar Malaysia will be filled with Singaporeans and populated with only 15 percent Malays."

Mahathir has been a vocal critic of Malaysia's government since Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi aborted some of his projects, including a plan to build a bridge linking Johor and Singapore

Ex-Malaysian Leader Calls For Ban On HALLIBURTON
(AP) KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Saturday slammed the government's move to allow U.S. oilfield services provider Halliburton Co. to begin operating in Malaysia, saying the country doesn't need "blood money."

"It is appalling that we have allowed this war-profiteering company to invest in Malaysia," he said in a statement, referring to Halliburton's contracts in Iraq for the U.S. government. "Are we so void of our humanity that we have to allow these war criminals to come in and thrive in our economy?"

Mahathir, who remains a respected figure in the Islamic world after his retirement in 2003 after 22 years in power, urged the government to ban Halliburton from using their "ill-gotten profits to operate in any way" in Malaysia.

Halliburton recently launched a 200 million ringgit ($62.5 million) manufacturing center in the Iskandar Malaysia economic hub in southern Johor state.

Mahathir, a vocal critic of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, accused Halliburton, once led by Vice President Dick Cheney, of raking in billions of dollars in profits from the Iraq war.

Halliburton's stock price surged from $10 before the war to around $46 now after the company won a series of contracts in Iraq amounting to nearly $20 billion, he said.

"Do we really need the blood money of a neo-conservative entity that has played a role in the murder of innocent Iraqis to fund our development?" he said.

He described Cheney and President Bush as "war criminals" who should be put on trial for the Iraq war. Mahathir now heads the Perdana Global Peace Organization, a private group.

Iskandar Malaysia chief Ikmal Hijaz Hashim has defended Halliburton's investment, saying it will create jobs and benefit the country. The Iskandar hub is among five massive development programs nationwide by the government to woo investment and spur growth in rural areas.

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