Looks like TH, as proxy of PAP, will kena tipu again...and lose more CPF money..
Govt optimistic about Sino-S'pore food zone
Peh Shing Huei
The Straits Times
Publication Date : 28-04-2012
The Singapore government is optimistic about a massive food zone to be built here with local authorities, said visiting Minister of State for National Development Lee Yi Shyan.
But the project, which is led by Temasek Holdings, is commercially driven and must proceed at a pace which the state investment company is comfortable with, he stressed.
"The size... and the nature of the project ought to be studied carefully before we get in. So I will support Temasek to go at their own pace," he told members of the Singapore media yesterday after touring the area near Yongji county, 40km from north-eastern Changchun city.
Questions have been raised about the viability of the ambitious plan to build farms, food industries and a township in a disease-free zone twice the size of Singapore - 1,450 sq km. Although the idea was discussed between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Premier Wen Jiabao in October 2008, progress has been slow.
Temasek's subsidiary, SingBridge International, raised concerns about the project's commercial viability after nine months of feasibility studies in 2010 and last year, according to an earlier report by The Straits Times. But pressure from the Chinese side prompted Temasek to reconsider.
SingBridge remains noncommittal. In response to queries from The Straits Times yesterday, a spokesman said: 'We are still evaluating the Jilin Food Zone project, and will share more details with you when ready.'
The Singapore Government has made clear that the project will not be state-led, unlike Suzhou Industrial Park and Tianjin Eco-City.
Lee Yi Shyan, for instance, said three times during his five-minute interview yesterday that the zone is a commercial endeavour.
But Jilin leaders have been keen for more official involvement from the Republic. Its party secretary Sun Zhengcai, a young rising star in the Chinese Communist Party, told Lee in a meeting yesterday that he hopes the project can build on Sino-Singapore successes in Suzhou and Tianjin. The 48-year-old said he pays close attention to the project.
His government has said it would invest at least 110 billion yuan (US$17.5 billion) over 15 years. Infrastructure such as new roads and lamp posts over a 3 sq km area at the proposed zone have also been built.
The plan is for a 30 sq km core area for high-tech industries such as food processing, bio-technology and logistics, as well as an environmentally friendly city for 300,000 people working in these sectors.
In 2010, Jilin announced that the food zone had been included in the agenda of annual bilateral economic meetings chaired by the deputy prime ministers of both countries, giving it a stronger official flavour.
Lee, who is also Minister of State for Trade and Industry and leading a delegation of business leaders to Jilin, said the Singapore Government will certainly offer support and technical collaboration.
He is upbeat on its prospects.
"I think it should take off because food is a very important subject for both the Chinese economy and for the international community. The demand will be there," he observed.