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Are the trio of mishaps of three brand new govt buildings in the past three weeks “tip of the iceberg” which portend even more disastrous mishaps in the near future with grave consequences to life, limb and property?
(Parliament, Wednesday) : Transparency International Malaysia President Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam has said that the recent collapse at three new government buildings is symptomatic of the state of deterioration in standards, quality, productivity and efficiency in the country.
He said that there’s too much concern to make a quick buck and too little attention given to professionalism and warned that this could be “tip of the iceberg”.
Ramon is eminently qualified to pass such a stricture on the public service delivery system as he was one of the last top non-Malay civil servants, at a time when the Malaysian public service was still identified with quality and world-class standards.
The question posed by Ramon is uppermost in the minds of Malaysians – whether the trio of mishaps of three brand new government buildings in the past three weeks are mere “tip of the iceberg” which portend even more disastrous mishaps in the near future with grave consequences to life, limb and property?
In actual fact, there had been quite a catalogue of construction mishaps in the past three months, as apart from the recent trio - the flooding of the seven-floor Immigration Department headquarters in Putrajaya because of plumbing failure, the collapse of a ceiling at the Entrepreneur and Co-operative Development Ministry in Putrajaya and the ceiling collapse in a secretary’s room at the world’s largest court complex at the Jalan Duta court complex – other mishaps involving brand-new government buildings and public projects or those under construction included the Parliament (ceiling collapse as a result of pipe leakage), Matrade Building, MRR2, fungus in new hospitals, the navy complex fiasco, smart lab fiasco, etc.
The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has called for the Public Works Department to inspect all government buildings nationwide while the Works Minister, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu has welcomed the call and praised the Prime Minister’s for his wisdom!
This is most ridiculous and outrageous. How did Malaysia descend so quick and fast in the past three years down the slippery slope of a third-world nation, not only in the maintenance culture but in the deterioration in standards, quality, productivity and efficiency in the public service delivery system?
One important reason for such a shocking state of affairs in the public service is the deplorable culture of impunity for negligence, failure and even corruption – as testified by the scandal that no one had been hauled to the courts to the price for the probably one of the longest government list of failures for public buildings and constructions for a country reputed to be have “first-class infrastructure” and for a time the world’s tallest twin towers!
Can Samy Vellu, for instance, give an iron-clad guarantee that there will not be another collapse in brand-new government buildings or public construction projects or he will resign to accept responsibility for the shocking public in standards, quality, productivity and efficiency in public works directly under his charge?
Visitors to my blog on “Public building mishaps – once is accident, twice is coincidence, thrice is systemic government collapse” have made very pointed and pertinent comments and analysis superior to all the comments which have been made by Cabinet Ministers, and the Prime Minister and the entire Cabinet are well-advised to keep in touch with the pulse of nation by diligently and conscientiously follow developments relevant to their ministries in the Malaysian blogosphere.
Unfortunately, despite the government promotion of Information and Communications Technology, we have Cabinet Ministers who are so antediluvian as to want bloggers to be ignored if not silenced.
The following are a sample of some of the perceptive and pertinent comments on this subject which deserve the attention of the Prime Minister and his Works Minister and should be the basis for discussion by Ministers in their next Cabinet meeting on this subject:
When Parliament reconvenes on Monday, Samy Vellu should present a Ministerial statement to respond to all the pertinent and pointed criticisms about the deplorable plunge in public service standards, quality, productivity and efficiency pertaining to the Public Works Department and to lay out his ministry’s strategy to ensure that the trio of recent government building mishaps would not be the “tip of the iceberg” paving the way for even more disastrous mishaps in the near future with grave consequences to life, limb and property!
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman