The government has not been very transparent and there seems to be no serious attempt to ensure that RazakSat-2 will not end up a failure like RazakSat-1, says Steven Sim.
Yesterday in Parliament, I asked the government to give an update of the national space satellite RazakSat-2 after a hiatus of two years since the project was announced in 2011.
The Deputy Science, Technology and Innovation Minister, Abu Bakar Mohamad Diah, gave me a reply which was both shocking and worrying.
Shocking because quietly, the cost of the project has escalated another 35 per cent or RM71.9m, making the total cost of sending RazakSat-2 to space soar from RM200m to RM271.9m.
Worrying because two years after its announcement, nothing substantial has been done – the government is still “searching for technological partners” – thus making the original launch date in 2015 untenable. The Deputy Minister said that the launch will now be in 2016.
This is worrying because, we are seeing a pattern which led to the failure of RazakSat-1 in 2010 which cost the country RM142m in losses. The government is using the same GLC which managed the failed RazakSat-1, Astronautic Technology Sdn. Bhd. (ATSB), to manage RazakSat-2. ATSB, according to an Auditor General’s report in 2011, lost RM10.9m even before RazakSat-1 was launched.
I fully support any initiative to strengthen our space programme, but now it looks as if the federal government is not exactly serious in dealing with the matter apart from spending more money via this project.
RazakSat-1 failed to achieve its mission and cost taxpayers RM142m in 2010. A year after that, the government announced that they would send another satellite, the RazakSat-2….
This morning, I further highlighted that the whole federal government’s ambition to join the big boys in the sky via the RazakSat programme may actually cost taxpayers RM1bn, or more!
The government has not been very forthcoming in this multimillion or even billion ringgit project. There is obviously a serious lack of transparency. And the problem is there seems to be no serious attempt to ensure that RazakSat-2 will not end up a failure like RazakSat-1.
Steven Sim is the Member of Parliament for Bukit Mertajam.