As a citizen of Malaysia, I hereby object to the suggestion to send the second astronaut into space at the cost of US$30mil (RM102mil) as reported by The Star (Normal to pick space crew at the last minute, says JJ – Tuesday September 25, 2007).
“If Malaysians want him to be sent to space too, I will raise the matter up with the Cabinet. He is after all, ready and able.
He added that the cost of sending the second Malaysian astronaut was estimated to be US$30mil (RM102mil).
This amount can be better used to improve the lives of thousands, if not millions, of our fellow Malaysians. I speak from the viewpoint of a disabled person. This money can be utilised to make the environment and public transport accessible, and support people with severe disabilities who are practicing independent living. These include providing funds for personal assistants and other support services. RM102mil is a lot of money and it should be used judiciously to benefit the most number of people.
For starters, the people at RapidKL kept saying that they do not have the money to make the public transport system under their management accessible. This RM102mil can go a log way towards achieving that. I have spoken to the State Assemblyman for Teratai YB Yap Soo Sun who said that Majlis Perbandaran Ampang Jaya does not have the funds to upgrade the walkways in Pandan Perdana into accessible ones because of the shortage of funds. RM102mil can do wonders to make all the walkways accessible. These are two examples how the RM102mil can be better spent. Why look so far away into outer space when things that are right before our eyes still need a lot of money and work? Lets get the priorities right here.