Government accountability scandal 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, has become a parliamentary scandal on the inability of MPs to hold the Executive to scrutiny and account after more than a week to Dewan Rakyat meeting
Media Conference statement
by Lim Kit Siang
(Parliament House, Monday): I have today received a letter from the Speaker, Tan Sri Ramli Ngah Talib rejecting my initiative under Standing Order 18 to move an urgent motion in the Dewan Rakyat 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.
Last Friday, I submitted notice to the Speaker on my intention to raise a motion of urgent definite public importance, as follows:
In rejecting my urgent motion, Ramli wrote in his letter:
I find the reasoning given by the Speaker as to why there is no urgency to address the long list of failed government infrastructure projects, both PMC and non-PMC, running into tens of billions of ringgit, completely unsatisfactory and unacceptable. The Speaker seems to have very low standards of government accountability and very lax rules for government stewardship of public funds, as any conscientious and responsible MP would have rejected the two reasoning which had clearly been given by the Executive to fob off the request for an urgent debate in Parliament on the issue, as they are nothing but “red herrings” and very weak excuses.
In any event, it is for the Ministers concerned, whether the Finance Minister or Works Minister, to come to Parliament to give these ridiculous excuses to ascertain whether they stand pass muster of Parliamentary scrutiny – and not for the Speaker to act as the spokesman of the Minister concerned to say things which the Speaker has no personal knowledge whatsoever as to their truth or otherwise.
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 am surprised that these and other Barisan Nasional MPs have not spoken up to demand full government accountability to Parliament on the long list of failed government infrastructure development projects, both PMC and non-PMC.
With the Speaker’s unfair ruling, government accountability scandal 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, has become a parliamentary scandal on the inability of MPs to hold the Executive to scrutiny and account after more than a week to Dewan Rakyat meeting.
This is most unsatisfactory, and one area where parliamentary reform is urgently needed. I will move a substantive motion which requires two day’s notice to review the Speaker’s decision rejecting my S.O. 18 motion, as the Speaker’s rejection is wrong, misguided and against efforts to transform the Malaysian Parliament into a First-World Parliament to effectively hold the government to account.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman