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After the lesson of RM3,000
delivered for RM30,000 school renovation project, there should be audit for
everyone of the 14 traffic watchtowers built for Ops Sikap XII as to whether
they are safe and each really worth RM70,000 for the safety of traffic
policemen and road users
(Parliament, Friday) : Works Minister, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu has denied the allegation of the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan that five of the 14 traffic watchtowers are unsafe for use – with one each in Selangor, Penang, Perak, Malacca and Negri Sembilan.
Sin Chew Daily reported with photograph on Thursday that the watchtower built at Tampin-Gemas Road 16km was so fragile and unsafe that it had been abandoned for the safety of the traffic policemen on duty.
It was first reported on 12th February 2007 (with photograph) that 14 manned watchtowers will be built in accident-prone stretches of federal, state and municipal roads for use durings Ops Sikap 12.
Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy had announced that the Cabinet had approved close to RM1 million to build the first 14 watchtowers in Peninsular Malaysia on roads where nine out of every 10 fatal accidents occur, and that each tower is expected to cost the Public Works Department about RM70,000.
On the same day, I received the following SMS from someone from the construction industry:
“Today’s NST page 8 prime news says 14 watch towers to cost government RM70k each is grossly over-priced. “
When I SMSed back to ask what would be the proper price range for such watchtowers, back came the reply: “25 – 30k with transport and installation costing 5k a piece.”
Bearing in mind the scandal of the RM30,000 Kung Fu Chinese primary school (Muar) repair contract where only RM3,000 value of work was delivered, what is the “leakage” in the nearly million-ringgit worth of 14 watchtowers?
After the lesson of RM3,000 value of work actually delivered for RM30,000 school renovation project, there should be audit for everyone of the 14 traffic watchtowers built for Ops Sikap XII as to whether they are safe and each really worth RM70,000 for the safety of traffic policemen and road users.
Although the 14 traffic watchtowers is a comparatively minor construction project as compared to mega-projects running into tens or hundreds of millions or even billions of ringgit, the safety of the traffic policemen and road users are at stake and this matter should not be taken lightly.
Let there be transparency and accountability as to how and to who the contract or contracts had been awarded to.
It is of course not for Samy Vellu to conduct any such an audit. I call on the Auditor-General to immediately dispatch a team to audit the construction and cost of the 14 watchtowers and make a public report.