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A full independent and public inquiry is necessary to prove that Datuk Samy Vellu was justified to increase the original repair cost of RM18 million to the Middle Ring Road Two(MRR2) by 4 times to RM70 million
by Lim Guan Eng
(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): Malaysians have no confidence in assurances given by Works Minister Datuk S. Samy Vellu and demands a full independent public inquiry to prove that Samy was justified in increasing the original repair cost of RM 18 million to the MRR2 by four times to RM 70 million. 9 days ago on February 2nd in all newspapers Samy Vellu had explained that the repair bill was RM 40 million and rose by RM 30 million to RM 70 million and that 31 pillars holding up the flyover in Kepong were repaired instead of 18 as initially decided.
However Samy now says in today’s papers that the original repair bill is even lower at RM 18 million and went up by four times to RM 70 million because RM8 million was required to be paid to a German consultant and the number of pillars needed to be repaired also doubled from 18 to 36. Paying RM 8 million to a consultant is extremely high when compared against the entire cost of the repair bill of RM 70 million. Samy appears to contradict himself repeatedly from whether the original repair bill was RM 18 million or RM 40 million as well as confused at the actual number of pillars required to be repaired is 31 or 36.
Such confusion in Samy’s facts and figures have not only raised doubts about Samy’s ability, competence and whether he is in full command of what is happening in his Ministry. More importantly as tens of millions of ringgit are involved, there are doubts as to whether there is a full accountability of every cent spent. Why is it that the repair bill is now nearly 60% of the cost of the RM 120 million project?
The RM 120 million 1.7 km flyover in Kepong was built by a consortium, Sukmin-Bumi Hiway-KKM (Wilayah), based on a design by consultant firm Maunsel, Sharma & Zakaria. Cracks on 31 pillars were detected in 2004 and confirmed by an independent consultant Halcrow Group Ltd of Britain. The flyover was closed in 8 August 2004 and reopened in December the same year. It was closed again in February 2006 and reopened in August. Paying RM 120 million for a dangerous flyoever that threatens the safety of motorists is unacceptable.
Only a full independent and public inquiry, comprising professional engineers with no vested interests, can the public be assured that all the figures tally, there are no cutting of corners or hanky-panky. If Samy claims that he has nothing to hide is correct, then why did he not reveal the actual cost of the repair bill had gone up from RM 18 million to RM 70 million earlier but only after Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chair Datuk Shahrir Samad had exposed this to the press.
Samy’s failure only proves his lack of commitment to transparency and accountability. Only a full independent and public inquiry determining how the contract can be awarded to the original contractors who are not qualified, why payment was made without any action taken against the contractors responsible for the damage, failure to act against the government officials who appointed the unqualified original contractors and the extent of the repair bill. More importantly the inquiry must determine whether the government has again overspent by building a RM 190 million MRR2 flyover and identify the few who has benefited at government’s expense.
* Lim Guan Eng, Secretary-General of DAP