The Malaysia Boleh venture into space is costing us an ill affordable RM95 million, as explained by Lim Guan Eng 6 weeks ago during the DAP economic forum: 'NEP vs VISION 2020: Where has all the money gone?'.
Lim said the space trip would be nothing more than a case of (his words) ‘gaya mesti ada, mati tidak apa’.
The proud acclaims of the Malaysian government that there will be a Malaysian astronaut or Bolehnaut in space next year, having teh tarik or roti canai while aloft in almost zero gravity conditions, in time for our country's 50th Merdeka celebrations have been nothing more than justifying a wasteful exercise in senseless profligacy.
Lim was sure that most Malaysians who have felt and are feeling the current belt tightening because of various price rises in consumable items (fuel, sugar, water, electricity, etc) would much prefer to have teh tarik on the ground and use the RM95 million to solve, say, our perennial flood problems, or build a bridge or two (or bloody many more) for the kampong people whose children had to take perilous risks crossing irrigation canals and rivers.
See my earlier postings Bloody No Light, Bloody No Water, Bloody Nonsense! and Kelantan's Bridges of Death.
And he asked the most important question in our space gambit: Do Malaysians get any technological transfer or benefits? (except for PR and publicity and feel good factor for BN?)
Lim averred that “even PR is limited as going to space is not that unique anymore and does not attract that much international attention as there are even millionaires who can become space tourists.”
Michael Backman of The Melbourne Age, agrees with Lim, writing a couple of days ago that:
“Next year, a Malaysian astronaut will go into space aboard a Russian rocket — the first Malay in space. And the cost? RM95 million, to be footed by Malaysian taxpayers.”
“The Science and Technology Minister has said that a moon landing in 2020 is the next target, aboard a US flight. There's no indication of what the Americans will charge for this, assuming there's even a chance that they will consider it.”
“But what is Malaysia getting by using the space programs of others as a taxi service? There are no obvious technical benefits, but no doubt Malaysians will be told once again, that they are ‘boleh’. The trouble is, they're not. It's not their space program.”
Aiyah, gaya mesti ada, kalah (by RM95 million) ta’apa!