We call on the Government to increase the number of trained personnel in the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) and ensure that the agency is independent in the true sense of the world such as making it responsible only to Parliament. Now, it is under the Prime Minister's Department

during the debate on the motion of thanks to the King for the Royal Address

by Dr Tan Seng Giaw

(Dewan Rakyat,  Thursday): I rise to speak on this motion with mixed feelings. Some Government measures are in the right direction. The appointment of a woman as Chief Justice of Malaya, the efforts to balance the budget, Malaysia Integrity Institute, National Integrity Plan, Malaysia Corporate Administration Code, the Second Science and Technology Policy, National Broad Band Plan and National Social Policy create high expectation among the people. The initiatives of the Prime Minister over a year ago have yet to be realized, including the eradication of corruption, the improvement in the delivery system and the modernization of agriculture.

On 21 March, 2005, it was good to see the Chief Justice Datuk Siti Norma in the House. Though the sword of justice is sharp, it will not slay the innocent.

Hoping that the Chief Justice is very just, we would like to see the Judiciary truly independent, clean and efficient. This type of judiciary is an important factor to give rise to human rights. Hitherto, the Government remains vague on human rights, including Universal Declarations of Human Rights, United Nations.

Membaca yang paling padan,
   Cekal yang dalam gawai;
Neraca yang palingan,
   Bungkal yang piawai.

The Prime Minister is reducing the budget deficit from 4.3% last year to 3.8% this year in order to achieve a balanced budget. He would like to project Malaysia brand internationally as a corporate country that stresses quality, security, service and efficiency. Malaysia brand must include commitment to be open and liberal in various sectors including the service sector, taxation, competitiveness and the energy of the private sector.

The ringgit peg

Malaysian ringgit is pegged to the US dollar at RM3.80 per US$ for 6 years, showing good effects initially. Now, the world has changed. There is nothing permanent except change. Many factors including mammoth deficit of US$11 trillion in the American economy result in weak US dollar. On the other hand, the ringgit is undervalued with the country's foreign reserves reaching US$70 billion and trade surplus lasting for 87 months. This is due to many factors. Speculative investment (hot money) increases. There may be world economic recession in 2007, 2008 or 2009. What is the Government's prepared move to handle the ringgit peg? Bank Negara Governor Tan Sri Zeti wants to consider ringgit performance against a basket of currencies and the effects on major trading partners. What is the mechanism to assess the time to stop the peg and replace it with a bigger flexibility of the rate of exchange?

Diesel dilemma

The Government subsidizes diesel in the billions. Oil price shoots up to over US$55 per barrel. The price of diesel increases from RM 0.95 per litre at the beginning of the year to RM1.30 per litre. Fishermen suffer. They ask the Government to reduce diesel price to reasonable level like RM 0.85 per litre, allow Zone B to employ legal foreign workers, put a stop to middlemen and prevent diesel smuggling.

The King believes that we should not be satisfied with the efforts (of the Government) to eradicate corruption. The Government has announced figures on ACA actions. But, ACA still has a long way to go. We must cooperate to help the Government make the National Integrity Plan, Malaysia Integrity Institute and Malaysia Corporate Administration Code successful. The Government should increase in the number of trained staff members in the ACA and ensure that the agency is truly independent, responsible only to Parliament.

A beautiful Temerloh Hospital

The Public Works Department (PWD) monitors Temerloh Hospital Project (PHT). The main contractor is PHT Sendirian Berhad (PHTSB) which is
responsible for design, construction, equipment, commission and maintenance of the hospital---a 'turnkey' project. The contract number is JKR/IP/B/24/2002. It costs about RM500 million. On 17 march, 2005, a few colleagues and I visited the hospital.

This project is situated within a 44-acre land at Kampung Paya Luas, Mukim Perak, Daerah Temerloh. PHTSB had possession of the site on 8
March, 2002. But, works started in 2001. It was scheduled for completion on 7 September, 2004, but delayed until 6 December, 2004. The Certificate of Practical Completion (CPC) was approved on 15 January, 2005 without consideration of the status of works of the project.  The list of outstanding works is not available.

PHTSB comprises Syarikat Permodalan Kebangsaan (SPK) with 40% shares, Mokhtar Mohamad Nazir (MMN) Bina 40% and Aspirasi Sama 20%. SPK and MMN Bina are in the list of Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB). The status of Aspirasi Sama is unclear.

According to Clause 8 'of the Conditions of Contract, the Contractor shall ensure that the quality of works as a whole must be maintained and that the works are carried out in conformity in every aspect with the requirements of contract.

'The Contractor shall engage full time on the site the whole duration of the contract adequate number of professional engineers or other appropriate professionals registered with the respective boards in Malaysia and sub-professional staff to provide close supervision of the works at all times to ensure full compliance with the design and specification of the works.'

On 31 January, 2005, Puan Puteh Kamariah Bt Mohamad signed theCPC as Project Director as follows: " In accordance with Clause 40 of the Condition of Contract and subject to the completion of any outstanding work and the making good of any defects, imperfections, shrinkages or
any other faults whatsoever (as listed in Appendix A) as required under Clause 46 of the Condition of Contract and which may appear during the Defects Liability Period It is hereby certified that the whole of the Works as mentioned above were satisfactorily completed on 14th January, 2005 and taken into possession on 15th January, 2005 and that the said Defects Liability Period in respects of the said Works began on 15th January, 2005 and will end on 14th January, 2007.

The issues which need full attention are as follows:

(1)        Works on Temerloh Hospital project began a few months before possession of the site.
(2)        The factors for the delay of the project are unclear, including the position of the Fire Department.
(3)        The appointment of PHTSB as the main contractor was unusual. Forinstance, the status of one of the partners, Aspirasi Sama, was not known.
(4)        Where is the list of the outstanding works?
(5)        CPC has been approved without all outstanding works satisfactorily completed.
(6)        The process for the completion of contract works and the preparation for the CPC remains in doubt.
(7)        There is weakness in the schedule, format and procedure of testing and commissioning.
(8)        The documentation of the project, manpower planning of subcontractor, record and accountability show defects.
(9)        PHTSB do not take testing, commissioning, mechanical and engineering works seriously.
(10)        There is lack of an effective monitoring system to monitor drawing status of various services.
(11)        The Certification of Fitness for sewerage Treatment Plant has been approved without testing and commissioning. What is the status of
Indah Water Konsortium here?
(12)        There was a delegation to visit London, Rome, Venice and Milan in July, 2004, for the transfer of technology. The delegation comprised
the wife of the PWD Director-General, Puan Puteh (PWD Project Director), Allan Tan (PHTSB Project Director) and wife, Chuan TH (PWD
civil engineer) and Soo HN (PWD Quantity Surveyor). What hospital did this delegation visit? (Was it a fashion house in Milan?) How much did
the Government spend? How many delegations had been sent?
(13)        "Standby Genset" has not been commissioned before operation.
(14)        Internal construction materials do not comply with contract specifications. 'Crusher-run' is used as road base, replacing granite.
(15)        Use of 'claybrick' not 'reinforced concrete' to build drains.
(16)        Anti-fire equipment with Fixed CO2 Fire Protection System has not been installed.
(17)        Car parks are not constructed according to specifications.
(18)        Full medical treatment has not been sent and installed.
(19)        Residual Current Device (RCD) for electrical equipment to protect patients has not been installed.
(20)        Roads are not built according to contract specifications.
(21)        "Surge Suppressor for Electrical System" is not fixed.
(22)        Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) is not satisfactorily installed.
(23)        Pedestrian Walkway is built without complying with specifications.
(24)        Is the hospital worth RM500 million?
(25)        Is the helipad according to specifications?

The Prime Minister has directed ACA to carry out its duties without fear or favour, adding: "This work is not done within one or two days and ACA   is  not sitting quietly. On the other hand, they continue with their duties.

"Naturally, at the same time, they must face various perceptions. But, have informed ACA, don't be afraid of anybody, continue with investigations. I don't interfere."

I hope that the PM increase the number of trained staff members of ACA and make the agency truly independent, responsible only to Parliament.

The Works Minister encourages people to visit Temerloh Hospital which he regards as beautiful. It has been handed over to the Health Ministry. I hope that the Minister can make the hospital beautiful, not only in appearance, but also in contents. The same applies to the Health Minister, who on 20 March, 2005, expressed his desire to equip 124 government hospitals in the country with state-of-the-art equipment. He can help the Works Minister to investigate thoroughly various works that do not comply with PHT contract.

For example, PHTSB has not included RCD in the list. This device is important in dealing with residual current for the safety of patients, especially heart patients. On 17 March, 2005, a PHTSB representative told me that his company had ordered 160 RCDs with RM 800 per unit. Some say that these are not found in switchboards. The hospital requires over 300 RCDs, costing RM1,200 each. Doctors and nurses are not necessarily electricians. They are not familiar with switchboards and RCDs. As the contractor has not prepared for RCDs, many structures and wiring are not adapted for these devices. If the company decides to comply with the contract and install RCDs, then it may have to knock down various structures and to rewire.

Over a year ago, the PM made many promises. He is trying to do some such as balancing the budget. But, he must do more. Good to begin well, better to end well. An ox is taken by the horns, and a man by his words.

Cekal, cekap orang Cuba,
   Lepas naik makan epal Fuji;
Bungkap genap menahan cuba,
   Emas baik menahan uji.

Taptibau terbang di hujung dahannya,
   Sesia pasang perangkap dengan butanya;
Kerbau dipegang dengan tali hidungnya,
   Manusia dipegang pada katanya.


* Dr Tan Seng Giaw, DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong