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PM’s personal intervention in year-long delay in MRR2 repairs – powerful reminder that  Cabinet and government shake-up long overdue


Media Statement (1)
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Petaling Jaya
, Monday): When the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has to personally intervene to cut the Gordian Knot to end the  catfight and turf war in the Works Ministry causing a year-long delay in the repair works  of the RM238 million Middle Ring Road Two (MRR2) Package 11 and Kepong flyover, it is a powerful reminder that a major Cabinet and government shake-up is long overdue.

If Abdullah has to micro-manage intra-Ministerial disputes when he is already faced with so many policy challenges,  causing him unable to do full justice to the two major Ministries directly under his responsibility, the Finance Ministry and the Internal Security Ministry,  it is no wonder that Abdullah’s ship-of-state seems to be  listing and  foundering even before  the delivery of his 27-month  government reform pledge and programme.

Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu admitted in the front-page report of  Oriental Daily News today that the delay in the MRR2 repairs was caused by intra-ministerial  disputes, which required the Prime Minister’s intervention in a special meeting summoned last Friday at 6 p.m. which was attended by Samy Vellu, the Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Samsudin Osman, Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Musa Hassan as well as Works Ministry and Economic Planning Unit officials. 

This has led the New Sunday Times in its “PLAIN TALK: When biting the bullet is better” by Brenda Pereira to ask: “Does a civil servant have the discretion to ignore a Cabinet decision”  - something quite unthinkable in the past few decades.

If not for the intra-ministerial disputes, the MRR2 would have been repaired by now. 

In August 2004,  the Cabinet had approved the appointment of the British consultants the Halcrow Group as the “decider” on the reasons for the cracks and how to repair MRR2 following differences between the foreign consultants employed by the contractor and Public Works Department.

The Public Accounts Committee also had several meetings and on-the-spot visits to MRR2, but to no avail.

I will ask in Parliament when it meets next month the full reasons for the year-long delay for the RM18 million MRR2 repairs, endangering public interest and safety -  but it is more important that  this should be a powerful reminder to Abdullah that he should end his indecisiveness  in a major Cabinet downsize reshuffle.


*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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