Categorised | Columns

Why did MBPJ spend so much?

Partially completed, dusty, yet very expensive walkway in the making
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.

Questions aplenty

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:

    1Who 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.

    2 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.

     3 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.

1. Suitability

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.

2. Urgency

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.

3. Cost

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. Favicon

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.

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9 Responses to “Why did MBPJ spend so much?”

  1. Chan Ching says:

    Sorry to say, corruption IS the way of life in Malaysia.

    Unless or until this country’s corrupted leaders are booted out, I see this country heading nowhere!

  2. looes74 says:

    Until we have a total overhaul of the system, we will face the shit. Be it PR or BN.

  3. johan Tung says:

    The RA5 submitted that the RM1.2 million was for the first expenditure for the replacement of the Jalan Gasing pavement in December 2008 where the good conditioned interlocking bricks were replaced with an “orange coloured cement top”.

    We were reliably advised that the second expenditure of over several hundred thousand ringgit is for the “disabled-friendly” path.

    Our contention is that good rate payers money was wasted when the disabled-friendly path (i.e. second expenditure) should have been done in the first instance. We also question the necessity of both expenditure.

    I am surprised that the Mayor was quoted as saying that he was unaware of the second expenditure (for the reasons that you mentioned), and am disappointed that he excused the replacement of the road plaques with the need to “enhance PJ’s image as a city … as the city cannot remain unchanged for decades.”

    The previous road plaques were replaced less than two years ago (I stand corrected).

    Also, why change the poles when it would have been less expensive to just change the plaques.

    I agree with him that things must change … perhaps he can start with the terrible conditions of the main roads in Petaling Jaya and the in-house cleaning of the “little Napoleans” that can spend rate payers money without proper financial governance.

  4. Which begs another question, how does the Mayor NOT know about this?

  5. Danesh says:

    Another question to ask. Who got rich?

  6. M. K. Goh says:

    I was shocked when I first saw the workers cutting the new walkway in order to lay the tiles which are apparently to help the blind. BUT, as my wife pointed out, how many blind EVER walk down that walkway just outside our house? Totally unnecessary and a waste of our funds!

    Same as for speed-breaker strips on the Section 16 road leading to Jalan Damansara. Why are the strips necessary when the road is going UPHILL?

    Is it because of corruption and kickbacks?

  7. KW Mak says:

    @ Chan Ching

    I understand the sentiment of wanting to boot corrupt leaders out, but there must be a replacement ready. Will you offer yourself as a candidate in the next election to replace the corrupt leaders?

    @ looes74

    Can you please explain who’s the ‘we’ that you are referring to that will do the job of overhauling the system? Can I take it that you are volunteering your services to help overhaul the system? Can I offer you a job in MBPJ?

    @ Johan Tung / StandUpForMalaysia / Danesh

    MBPJ is a big organisation. It is entirely possible for things to happen that escape our notice. Please do not be so quick to judge until all the information is at hand.

    I raise the questions publicly to enable the public to ask the right questions and receive the right answers. It does not mean I have pre-judged the matter and found a person or persons guilty of a crime or that there was a crime to begin with.

  8. dunknow says:

    if you ask the MB also he will probably claim he does not know anything. What a farce. Nothing’s changed. PR is just another BN in disguise.

  9. Thomas Lee says:

    I believe it is time the Rakatan Rakyat Selangor state government do something about the Sulit culture. The coalition government is supposed to be a transparent, accountable and responsible administration but after a year, nothing much seems to have changed. Even one councilor has allegedly threatened to ask the MBPJ to use the OSA on those who reveal official documents concerning the people’s well-being.

    Meanwhile, when questionable deals are exposed, the state executive councilor responsible for local councils, Ronnie Liu, cannot be reached for comments. There is a deafening silence.

    If the Pakatan Rakyat state government continues the Sulit culture of the previous Barisan Nasional state administration, and fails to be transparent, accountable and responsible, then many of its supporters will be put off and the next general election will not be smooth going for the Pakatan Rakyat.

    Many of the blunders that reflect badly on the Pakatan Rakyat can be attributed to the appointed councilors showing off, abusing their position and power, threatening the people with OSA charges, and talking nonsense. Some are publicity crazy, while a few have been tainted by allegation of corruption. Such people should not be reappointed.

    In view of the fact that direct election to the local authorities is not legally possible now, the Pakatan Rakyat should consider a sort of indirect election, in which those selected as councilors are nominees of the community, i.e. officials of residents associations, representatives of traders and hawkers, and those recommended by the professional bodies.

    To safeguard the interest of the people and to avoid conflicts of interests, businesspeople, especially those who have dealing with the local authorities like contractors and suppliers of materials, should be barred from being appointed councilors.

    Finally, as a demonstration of its sincerity in upholding transparency and accountability, the Pakatan Rakyat should make all local councilors declare their assets on taking office and on completing their term. Such a move will ensure that only people of credibility and integrity are made councilors. As it is, the people don’t seem to think much of councilors now, and look upon them as being in the take, although it may not be true. Declaring assets will enhance the status of the councilors and bring about some respect to them.

    The honeymoon is over, Ronnie, and you need to do something concrete and fast to protect the good name of the Pakatan Rakyat.

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