Urgent motion in Parliament on government accountability on the long list of failed government infrastructure projects, PMC and non-PMC, running into tens of billions of ringgit under Eighth Malaysia Plan since 2000


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Parliament House, Friday): I have today given notice to the Speaker of Parliament, Tan Sri Ramli Ngah Talib, under Standing Order 18 to move an urgent motion in the Dewan Rakyat on Monday on the long list of failed government infrastructure development projects, Project Management Consultants (PMC) and non-PMC, running into tens of billions of ringgit under the Eighth Malaysia Plan since 2000. 

In my notice to the Speaker submitting  my motion to adjourn Parliament on Monday to discuss a definite matter of  urgent public importance –  government accountability to Parliament on  the failed Project Management Consultants (PMC) and non-PMC infrastructure development projects under the Eighth Malaysia Plan since 2000, affecting projects like MATRADE Building, highways, schools, hospitals, etc -  I stressed:


“At stake are not only the principles of accountability, transparency and good governance and the pledge of the Prime Minister to lead a clean, incorruptible, efficient and trustworthy government, but the credibility of Parliament to transform itself into a First-World Parliament capable of effectively holding the government to account through scrutiny and to ensure that the voice of Malaysians can be heard in the highest deliberative chamber of the land.


“Parliament had met for a week but had disappointed Malaysians for it had signally failed to address the most burning issue in the country - the long list of PMC and non-PMC government infrastructure development projects which run into tens of billions of ringgit, symbolic of gross  absence of Ministerial and government responsibility in the stewardship of public projects and expenditures. 


“Efforts in the past week, whether requests for White Paper or ministerial statement,  question without notice or priority to debate private member motion on the subject had failed to bring the issue to the centre of parliamentary attention.


“PMC internationally represents a new profession to ensure that development  projects are completed faster, within budget and of high quality but in Malaysia it appears to have  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.


“Parliament must live up to its paramount duty to stop such scandals and malpractices.”


The gravity of the long list of failed government infrastructure projects, PMC and non-PMC, is illustrated by the revelation by the Works Minister, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu during the  Roundtable Discussion of Presidents and Chief Executives in the Construction Industry in Kuala Lumpur on June 23, 2003, where he said that in 2002, the value of projects implemented by the Government was about RM23.5 billion, with the PWD handling RM7 billion worth, or 30 per cent of the projects, while the balance of RM16.5 billion were given out to PMCs.  From this amount, only 30% of the projects managed by the PMCs were completed within schedule. 


If for the year 2002 alone, some RM16.5 billion worth of government infrastructure projects were given to PMCs, this would mean that for the Eighth Malaysia Plan since 2,000 some RM50 billion worth of infrastructure developments had been handled by the PMCs.


As the Gerakan President and Minister for Energy, Water and Communications, Datuk Seri Lim Keng Yaik said last Saturday: “How can the Government be shortchanged?  Those responsible should be made answerable for these sub-standard projects.”


Unfortunately, Keng Yaik did not raise the PMC scandal in the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, raising grave questions about the accountability of the government infrastructure projects, both PMC and non-PMC, whether in Cabinet or Parliament.


In Parliament during the committee stage debate on the Works Ministry last month, there were Barisan Nasional backbenchers like the MP for Kinabatangan, Bung Moktar, MP for Labuan Suhaili Abdul Rahman, MP for Batu Kawan Huan Cheng Guan, and even  MP for Jerai, Badruddin Amiruidin , who called for the resignation of Samy Vellu as Works Minister for the long list of failed government infrastructure projects involving MATRADE Building, highways, schools and hospitals.


I invite  these and other  Barisan Nasional MPs to  join forces with Opposition MPs next week to demand full government accountability to Parliament on the long list of failed government infrastructure development projects, both PMC and non-PMC.


* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman