Government Defective Buildings ; Whose faults?
We refer to the news recently on the defective new government buildings.
Sadly, we read a lot of denial and irresponsible statement from
respective parties. We even read some views from a minister that had
never admitted his mistake. Because I am a professional Architect, I owe
the public a duty to express my opinion here. Otherwise I would have
abrogate my professional duty and feel shame for the country.
Government Projects shall be separated from Politics
We heard so much about government projects with mega sums and big hoo-ha.
Especially when election is on his way, clearly, all government projects
had been connected with political agendas and shamefully, we had a lot of
mega projects that had related to political purposes. Government had been
expanded people’s money and some had been abusing them to achieve
personal interest. The persons profiting from the government projects
are mainly the Bumiputras, the Politicians that making the decisions and
its cronies. Very little had actually gone down to the poor man on the
street. It is a simple notion that nobody will give a project to his
enemy. Nobody will award any project without profiting anything, and
nobody feel safe to award a project to a poor man. Since it is the
people’s monies and yet it helps to boost the country economy, the mega
figures seem nobody dare to question and able to challenge.
The root of the problem is corruption and abuse of power among the parties
that making decision to award projects to contractors. At least if not,
shall be the top administrative officers that had been abetting with the
politicians, involving in awarding mega sums of contracts.
The Process of Construction
A building is completed by going through a simple process. However it
involves many parties and many stages; from design, drawings, approval,
tender, construction, supervision and completion. There are 3 main
parties to ensure the achievement of a fair and successful result;
Government Peoples’ Money
Shall any parties within the triangle abusing his right and position, will
bring disgraceful end result to the project.
If the government is the owner of the building and money is not a problem,
all outstanding sums had been paid and all high end budgets are allocated
and yet deriving a poor outcome, somebody from the triangle must be held
responsible. Justice must not only be made but must be seen to be made.
Too often than not, we see our Ministers and Government representatives
tried to defend themselves as innocent parties instead of carrying out
further investigations. Our country has too many innocent people that
ended up our prison is empty. To be fair to the prison warden to have a
job to do, we should jail the serious offender; especially those had
misused their position and abusing the tax payers’ hard earned money.
Those affected buildings are involving few hundred millions Ringgit
Malaysia, if being continuously abused, will bring the country to
Intolerable defects shall be deemed as uncompleted works. Defect is de
minimus, otherwise works shall be deemed uncompleted. Any issuance of
Certificate of Practical Completion (CPC) for uncompleted building is
ultra vires. The professional overseeing the project shall be held
responsible. Because the Certificate is so important and it serves as
benchmark to release a major portion of the money, this crucial moment
will always induce corruptions, mal-practice, ultra-vires and abuse of
power. If we leave this power to un-qualify consultants, they will
definitely abuse it.
Instead of requesting an independent 3rd party to investigate further, we
have politicians that stood up and pointing fingers to the system, the
paperwork, the time, the non related object being or non human being.
Such premature decision is unwise and ridiculous, and properly such
premature intention is to make sure nobody goes to jail but only the
computers, the papers, the hammers, the cement or the concrete bricks.
If that works, we need not spend so much money to build so many big
Fast Track Projects
In the process of tendering out a project or awarding a negotiated tender,
the time frame of completion is indicated and the contractor is made aware
of the completion date. If the time of completion is too short to be
completed, the contractor shall not accept the contract and let other
more competent contractors to do it. If the contract had been accepted
and yet couldn’t deliver the quality result, the contractor shall be
held responsible. The Professional shall advise the owner not to award
any projects to un-competent contractor, neither any soon to be
bankrupted party. Any mala fide in this process can be investigated
easily and interference in the process of decision making can be an
evidence to prosecute for damages. Therefore Fast Track Project is not
an excuse for intolerable defects.
We should have a stronger Anti-Corruption Agencies (ACA) and other more
powerful Independent Investigation Authority (IIA) to investigate, to
protect, to ensure clean & transparency and to safeguard the peoples’
monies. Instead of leaving them all to the politicians, un-experience
administrative officers, irresponsible government administration system,
selfish professional, nasty contractors or hunger corruptors, our money
being spent by the government agencies are un-justified & should be
audited and published.
We do not mind to pay more taxes to ensure tax payers’ money is
safeguarded. We don’t mind to pay higher prices for a nice building and
to achieve a beautiful country. However, we do not hope to see the ugly
corruptions and abuse of power continues to take opportunity and abusing
people’s money in government projects. We request the government to
consider it deeply and urge ACA to investigate the defective government
Goo Huey Kiam
5 May 2007