MBPJ is spending RM1.2 million on this walkway with tactile indicators
(pic by KW Mak)
IT was recently reported that the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) spent RM1.2 million on a pedestrian walkway in Section 5, Petaling Jaya. There was uproar from residents because of the exorbitant cost involved.
In the report, MBPJ Mayor Datuk Mohamad Roslan Sakiman said he knew nothing of the expenditure and that he would not have approved it had he been aware. This however begs the question as to what kind of control measures are in place for the council’s expenditure.
Assuming that the figure involved, as provided by the residents who said they were reliably informed, accurately reflects the true cost of the pedestrian walkway, questions need to be raised.
MBPJ councillors passed a resolution in November 2008 whereby all projects that cost more than RM20,000 must be first tabled at the finance committee. This committee is tasked with vetting through the applications based on several criteria such as the need for the project, the value to the cost, and the urgency.
Despite this mechanism of control, the pedestrian walkway project was never tabled at the finance committee meeting. As a result of this fiasco, I would like the following questions answered:
Who signed the payment for this project (or has payment been withheld)? By convention, the mayor, council secretary or deputy council secretary sign such payments. But at this point, until investigations are conducted, it would be unfair to assume this is what happened.
Which department was involved in carrying out this project? Who did the research and paperwork for the project? A department head and the officer responsible should be hauled up before the council.
Why was this matter not brought up to the finance committee?
Justifying the project
Right now, based on what little information I have, there are several reasons why this project should be opposed.
The portion where the upgraded pedestrian walkway in Section 5 is located has no public or private property that would be frequented by the disabled who are wheelchair users or who have a sight disability. The surrounding areas near the Tun Hussein Onn Eye Hospital would have been a better location for such a project.
There are several areas within Petaling Jaya that are still prone to floods and the money could have been used to upgrade the existing drainage infrastructure. A pedestrian walkway for the disabled is important, but the need for and usage of it should have been carefully studied and justified.
For RM1.2 million, how much of the pedestrian walkway was upgraded? Did the cost involve cabling, lighting and other facilities, or was it just for the walkway itself?
The MBPJ must explain the concerns that have been raised by these questions, and not just to the councillors who sit in the council, but to the public at large. After all, it is rate payers’ money which has been used for this pedestrian walkway project.
And while I remain part of the council, it would be improper for me to reveal the findings of the case without the council’s endorsement. Hence, it is incumbent on the council to issue an official statement about a project that the public are justifiably upset about.
MBPJ councillor KW Mak knows many secrets, very few of which can be justifiably kept secret. He is constantly bemused, and believes the public should be, too, about why invitation letters to attend meetings have sulit written on it.