PMC internationally represents a new profession to ensure that projects are
completed faster, within budget or cheaper and of high quality but in
Malaysia it has become a byword for a new scam with projects ending up with
higher costs, taking longer time and with inferior quality
- on the Education Ministry during the 2005 Budget debate
by Lim Kit Siang
(Dewan Rakyat, Tuesday): It is ridiculous and outrageous that MPs are limited to five minutes to debate the 2005 estimates for the Education Ministry, when it is the Ministry with the biggest estimates exceeding RM16.7 billion, which is 40 or even 50 times bigger than some other Ministries.
I want to speak up for MPs, not only from the Opposition but also from the Barisan Nasional, for MPs should be given more time to debate the Education Ministry estimates if we are serious about the importance of education for the future of the country.
At least two full days should be devoted for the debate on the Education Ministry estimates, in view of the RM16.7 billion estimates and to do full justice to the importance of education, and there should be a proper sense of balance and proportion in the allocation of debate time for the different Ministries.
One current hot issue on education are the 16 “sick” schools and five community colleges with structural defects and infrastructure problems.
Education Minister, Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein has said that he would not compromise with corruption, abuses of power and negligence resulting in the failures of the educational infrastructural projects, but these are just words without action.
In July last year, when the scandal of the school computer laboratories was exposed, especially the RM140 million East Zone contract covering 467 school computer laboratories, involving contractor Bell Grand Sdn. Bhd and Project Management Consultant (PMC) QSC Projects Sdn. Bhd., the Public Works Department was directed by the Cabinet to take over the projects and PWD promised to complete all the delayed projects by the end of last year. But up to now, there are still school computer laboratories projects in the East Coast taken over by the PWD which are still not yet completed, although they are already behind schedule by over three years.
There was also talk of referring the parties responsible for the RM140 million school computer laboratories scandal to the Anti-Corruption Agency, and to demand compensation – but has a single person been charged in court or a single sen collected as liquidated damages in the past 18 months?
Blame has been placed on the PMCs. However, it has been reported that in March this year, the then Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Tan Sri Samsuddin Hitam, had issued a circular to all Ministries with the directive that the technical units of the respective Ministries would henceforth be responsible for their own development projects. If so, why should there be 16 “sick” schools and five community colleges with structural defects and structural problems, if the Education Ministry is efficient and competent?
PMC internationally represents a new profession to ensure that development projects are completed faster, within budget or cheaper and of high quality but in Malaysia it has become a byword for a new scam, a new form of cheating public funds, with projects ending up with higher cost, taking longer time and with inferior quality. This is most shameful for Malaysia in the world and Malaysians are entitled to know why such a distortion of the meaning of PMC has occurred in the country.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman