However, Sarawakians and Malaysians have little confidence in Mahathir's RM3 billion economic stimulus package when development "white elephants" like the RM350 million Miri port in Baram go unchecked throughout the country.
I have still to get a response from the Sarawak State Government to my criticism of the new Miri port in Baram as the biggest White Elephant in the country, which is as good as abandoned on its completion - a laughing stock in Sarawak and Malaysia and international port circles.
The RM350 million Miri port in Baram was conceived as "a giant step forward.as the gateway to northern Sarawak" and with "the innovative design and futuristic look" it is to become "a showcase of port development for the state".
It has achieved neither one of these ambitions, as it represented a "giant step" and "gateway" to nowhere and has become a "showcase of port development" not only for the state but for the world as to how not to build a port which is immediately abandoned on its completion!
Although the Miri Port at Baram was planned to have deeper approach channel to receive bigger vessels as compared to the old Miri port, i.e. a channel 150 km wide and 5 metre depth at lowest tide, the siltation of the river means only shallow draft craft can use the new RM350 million port facility, as vessels with drafts greater than 2 metres are unable to pull alongside.
Instead of facing up the hard fact that the Sarawak state government had committed a colossal development folly in building the biggest "white elephant" in the Miri port in Baram, and face up to the brutal reality that the best option now is probably just to abandon the Miri port project in Baram, the state government has now decided on a cure which is worse than the disease.
I understand that in order to salvage the Miri Port at Baram, the state government has decided against the original proposal to construct a navigation canal between Miri Port and the South China Sea, and has embarked on a RM200 million project to dredge six miles of channel between the Baram river mouth and the sea.
This does not seem to really resolve the problem of the Miri Port in Baram, which is 10 km from the Baram River mouth, and I understand that it would cost RM300 million to dredge this stretch of the Baram River.
What is most shocking however is that the such dredging would have to be repeated annually, which had already been predicted by the Internal Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) study with regard to Baram River siltation.
The cure is definitely worse than the disease if it is going to cost some RM500 million annually just to make the RM350 million Miri port in Baram usable.
I understand that no professional feasibility studies were ever made before the State government embarked on the RM350 million Miri port project in Baram and neither were Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) studies made for the various phases of the project.
Furthermore, I understand that the RM350 million Miri port project in Baram was conceived and implemented in disregard of objections by various Federal government departments on its unsuitability particularly because of its location and siltation problem of Baram River.
The Sarawak State Government cannot continue to keep a sullen silence on the country's biggest "white elephant" in Sarawak.
If the Sarawak State Government is not prepared to come clean and give a full accounting for building the biggest "white elephant" in the country, the Federal Government should commission a special study as a object lesson to all Federal and State Government officers as well as the country as to how to avoid such a development folly.