Datuk Mohd Ali Rustam Should Respect The 2001 Auditor-General's Report And Punish Those Responsible For The "Profligacy And Loss" In The RM13.3 Million Parameswara Jetty Project In Bandar Hilir, Melaka

Press Statement
by Betty Chew Gek Cheng

(Melaka, Friday): Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Mohd Ali Rustam should respect the recently released 2001 Auditor-General's Report and punish those responsible for the "profligacy and loss" in the RM13.3 million Parameswara Jetty in Bandar Hilir, Melaka. In the report signed by Auditor-General Datuk Dr Hadenan bin Abdul Jalil but only tabled to the Melaka State Assembly on 13 May 2003, Datuk Dr Hadenan said that the RM13.3 million jetty project was never used since it was completed in 1995.

This jetty was intended to replaced the Sungai Melaka public jetty which the Auditor-General(AG) considered as needed to be urgently replaced. The present public jetty is crowded, narrow and in a dilapidated condition making it a danger to consumers as their safety can not be guaranteed. As a result of poor planning and abuses by the government, despite spending RM13.3. Million on the new jetty which can not be used, the government is acting irresponsibly by putting users of the present old jetty in danger.

This RM13.3 million Parameswara jetty project commenced in September 1994 comprise two sections. The same company was awarded the contract
for both sections. The jetty was estimated to cost RM7.67 million. However when it was completed in November 1995,  the final cost leaped 35% by RM2.66 million to RM10.33 million. Such cost variation of 35% in excess of the normal cost variation of 10% is most unusual.

The second section includes the Customs and Immigration Department joint complex next to the jetty costing RM 4.51 million. The project could not be  completed as the government wanted to add a 300-room hotel. As the project was already 49.4% completed, the government had to pay RM3 million in compensation to the company. The AG pointed out that RM3 million was spent for an empty piece of land without any buildings. The empty piece of land was subsequently turned to a parking lot. RM3 million in costs to get a parking lot was described as "not beneficial and wasteful" expenditure. Clearly spending RM3 million for building an empty parking(not including land costs) makes it probably the most expensive parking lot in Malaysia.

The AG report also pointed out the failure by the government to seek compensation from the company for RM3.1 million in :

a) failing to pay RM2.65 million as part of the company's contribution for subsidising the first 180 meters of the jetty as provided for in the contractual agreement;
b) failing to pay RM435,345 in compensation to the government when the pontoon in the jetty became damaged during the one year defect liability period.

What the public can not understand is why the government could still pay the company RM13.3 million fully without deducting RM3.1 million owed by the company. Instead the government fully paid the RM13.3 million for a jetty that can not be used without seeking penalties or compensation from the company. Such prompt payment to the company at a considerable loss to public funds raises many questions and suspicions why proper procedures were not followed as highlighted by the AG report.

The time has come for the Melaka Chief Minister to be fully accountable to the public for the RM13.3 million jetty scandal. Not only are users of the present dilapidated jetty unsafe, but the RM13.3 million lost is a large sum for a small state of 600,000 people. It is completely unacceptable and against the public interest that those responsible for causing the loss and wastefulness of RM13.3 million escape unpunished.  To restore public confidence that the government practices accountability and transparency, a full public inquiry should be set up for the RM13.3 million  Parameswara Jetty scandal.


* Betty  Chew Gek Cheng,  DAP State Assemblywoman For Durian Daun