Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Monday, 11th August 2008: 

Azmi Khalid should stand down in the PAC inquiry into the new MRR2 flyover cracks as the MRR2 repairs decision of previous Cabinet in 2006, of which he was member, should also be subject of investigation

The Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid should stand down in the PAC inquiry into the new Middle Ring Road (MRR) 2 flyover cracks as the decision-making on the repairs of the RM238 million MRR2 by the previous Cabinet in 2006, of which he was a member, should also be the subject of current PAC investigations as well.

Azmi had announced after the PAC meeting this morning that the PAC will visit the defective MRR2 flyover in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow morning, two weeks after clumps of concrete and carbon fibre panels fell from the highway pillar into the path of the oncoming cars below.

It is not only most invidious, improper but also a clear and flagrant conflict-of-interest for Azmi to now preside over an investigation into the two-year RM70 million repairs of the six-year RM238 MRR2, including an examination of the rationale and justification for the final Cabinet decision on its repairs when he was a member of that Cabinet as the whole repair decision-making process at various stages of decision-making, including at the Cabinet level, raises many disturbing questions about their propriety and wisdom.

I had raised in the previous Parliament the intense turf war between the then Works Minister, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu and the Public Works Department director-general, about how, the costs and who should be awarded the contract to carry out the MRR2 repairs, and how the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had to personally intervene to resolve the matter by convening a special meeting on a Friday on 3rd February 2006, which was attended by among others the second Finance Minister, Tan Sri Nor Mohamad Yakcob and the then Chief Secretary Tan Sri Samsudin Osman.

Samy Vellu won the battle against the PWD at the Feb. 3 meeting but eventually lost the war. Although Samy Vellu announced after the meeting that the MRR2 repair work would be supervised by the British-based consultants Halcrow, maintaining that the costs would be RM18 million, the turf war was finally won by the PWD at a Cabinet meeting two weeks later which upheld the PWDs recommendation in awarding the repair work to German consulting firm Leonhardt Andra and Partners (LAP) at a cost of RM40 million, which later mushroomed mysteriously to RM70 million!

In its current investigations into the new MRR2 flyover cracks, Azmi should turn witness at the PAC meeting by giving a full account of how many Cabinet meetings had been held to discuss the MRR2 repairs from 2004-2006, why the contract for the repairs was finally awarded to LAP instead of Halcrow, and the more-than-triple the original repair costs from RM18 million to RM70 million.

The PAC of the previous Parliament met at least six times over the MRR2 cracks since 2004 but to very little purpose.

It raised many questions which to date have been ignored by the various departments. Furthermore, a study of the PAC records indicate that some public officials had also committed parliamentary contempt in concealing important information from and misleading the PAC in its investigations into the MRR2 flyover cracks scandal.

Will another PAC meeting into the MRR2 flyover in Kepong make any difference this time?

The PAC of the previous Parliament was repeatedly assured by the Works Ministry and the Public Works Department that the MRR2 contractor Bumi Highway would have to pay for the full repairs cost, i.e. RM70 million.

But this is an empty assurance, as up to now the bill had been foot in full by the Malaysian taxpayers and not a single sen had been paid by Bumi Highway.

This should be one area which PAC should investigate to demand Cabinet accountability and responsibility and why it is improper for Azmi to be involved in the current PAC investigations because he was a member of the previous Cabinet and should be in the dock!

For this reason, the current PAC investigations into the new MRR2 flyover cracks should be chaired by the Deputy PAC Chairman, Dr. Tan Seng Giaw (MP for Kepong).

* Lim Kit Siang,  DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor