Calls For A Royal Commission Of Inquiry On Public Projects Not To Arbitrate Into The Public Squabble Between Datuk Samy Vellu And The Finance Ministry’s Project Management Consultant(PMC) Scheme But To Salvage And Determine The Root Cause Behind The Failure Of Billion Ringgit Worth Of Government Projects

- At The Penang DAP State Annual Convention
Lim Guan Eng

(Penang, Sunday): The openly bitter and public squabble between Works Minister Datuk Samy Vellu and the Finance Ministry’s Project Management Consultant(PMC) over who is responsible for failed government projects makes for quite good entertainment were it not for the rather serious nature that billion ringgit worth of public funds are involved. The public is sick and tired of the finger-pointing between the long and self-serving Datuk Samy Vellu (25 years as Minister) and the crony capitalism infested PMC in Utusan Malaysia when public interests are not protected. 

Clearly the experiment at outsourcing the expertise and management of government projects to PMCs from in-house JKR or Public Works Department has failed. Datuk Samy Vellu claims that PMCs under the Finance Ministry overcharged the public for projects by tens of millions of ringgit, are incompetent, understaffed, unprofessional, dishonest and even corrupt. PMCs denies these allegations and claim their success in finishing government projects. Such a public squabble would serve public interests if we can clearly recognise the weaknesses and correct them, identify the culprits and punish them, and most importantly find the right party to manage these public projects.

The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi can no longer afford to sit on his hands and merely watch each side hurl serious accusations and counter-accusations back and forth. Such inaction is irresponsible because Malaysia’s international reputation as a credible and reliable economic growth centre will be severely affected if the Finance and Works Ministry can not co-ordinate and get their act together. How will this improve our international competitiveness where the World Economic Forum's (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report for 2004 showed Malaysia's global competitiveness dropped from 29th in 2003 to 31st this year.

DAP calls on the Prime Minister to form a Royal Commission of Inquiry On Public Projects so that quick remedial action can be taken to salvage and determine the root cause behind the billion ringgit worth of failed government projects. The Malaysian government should not subject itself to such ridicule but work hard to weed out imcompetent project consultants whether in-house in the Finance Ministry or outsourcing through the PMCs. To be fair, heads must roll both in-house and outsourcing areas to ensure not only greater compliance and accountability with financial regulations but also restore public confidence and integrity into our standards and monitoring mechanism. 

DAP To Remain Dynamic In Our Ideals And Principles, Attentive To Public Needs And A Progressive Force In Making A Positive Difference In The Lives Of All Malaysians

DAP as the largest parliamentary opposition in the country must remain dynamic in our ideals and principles, attentive to public needs and a progressive force in making a positive difference in the lives of all Malaysians. Even though DAP obtained most of our support from non-Malay voters, we must continue to hold on to our Malaysian Malaysia ideals to speak up for all Malaysians. 

Just as we accept Bahasa Malaysia as the national language, mother-tongue language should be protected. Similarly, we accept Islam as the official religion but there should be freedom of religion. We reject both racial or religious dominance. We reiterate that the slogan of bangsa, agama dan negara stands for bangsa Malaysia, semua agama, dan satu Negara. 

We must remain attentive to public needs. For this matter Penang DAP in attending the public outcry over the high service fees imposed by banks is praiseworthy. DAP stands not just for political and human rights but also for the economic rights of ordinary Malaysians as opposed to BN that defends banks’s or other big corporations’ right to earn greater profits at consumer’s expense. 

We must also be a progressive force for national unity and themes that reminds us that our destinies are bound together as Malaysians. A return to the 1957 social contract that gave birth to the Merdeka Constitution should be the unifying basis for all Malaysians to work together to make our country more peaceful, stable, prosperous and with justice for all. Democracy should be extended throughout to include local government elections that was banned in 1965. As democratic activists it is our duty next year to campaign on the 40th year anniversary of its ban for the full restoration of local government elections. 

DAP is willing to co-operate with any organization or political party that shares this aims. Let me state clearly that such co-operation must not be seen as aiding or facilitating the establishment of any theological religious state. A secular democratic foundation based on the 1957 Merdeka Constitution is the ideal co-operative formula acceptable by all Malaysians. 

Let us therefore show that we are a dynamic and  progressive force attentive to the needs of our fellow Malaysians. 


* Lim Guan Eng, DAP Secretary-General