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Monday, October 02, 2006

Why Do We Have So Many Problems on Public Works?

Construction projects like repair of schools should be relatively easy to monitor and control and yet we seem to have problems.

In this case RM29000 was approved for the repairs and yet an initial probe indicates the actual cost was only RM3000.

What actions will be taken against the PWD officers and the contractor? It seems to be a clear case of fraud.

What is even more worrying is that it appears that contracts below RM200,000 can be prone to such cheating and if we multiply that by the thousands of such contracts the cumulative value of the fraud is humongous and could run into millions of ringgit.

There appears to be a control factor lacking in such projects and that is the signing off of the party for which the project is done.

In this case the school should have received details of the following:

• The scope of works
• The project value
• The number of days of work

When the project is completed the headmaster will make confirm whether the scope of works has been carried out and the actual work days completed.

This report is sent to the relevant ministry and if the officer there is satisfied with the confirmation, within two weeks they must advise the Works Ministry or payment will be approved.

This procedure is still not 100% guarantee but it will provide the relevant parties some means to check if the actual work has been carried out.

For example if the contract mentioned 30 days for work and the job takes only 10 days it should merit further checking.

I would also require the HM or his assistant to issue the daily work permit for the contractor so that the school will be able to properly warn students of dangerous vehicles etc and take the necessary precautions.

Do we have such a work permit control now? I doubt it.

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