Parliament as “House of Leaks” – heads must roll in PWD and Works Ministry, or Samy’s head should roll


Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has asked the Public Works Department (PWD) to explain to the Cabinet on why no request was made for allocations to repair the roof when Parliament House underwent an extensive RM90 million renovation in 2005.

Four questions immediately come to mind:

Firstly, will the reference to the Cabinet of the scandal of Parliament as “House of Leaks” end up as unsatisfactorily as last week’s reference to it of the outrage of sexism in Parliament where two Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs, Datuk Mohd Said Yusof (Jasin) and Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin (Kinabatangan) made crude, derogatory, sexist and gender-offensive remarks in Parliament last week, bringing shame and dishonour to DAP MP for Batu Gajah, Fong Po Kuan, Parliament, Malaysian women and the nation’s international reputation — resulting in fake apologies which are really no apologies at all?

Secondly, why the extraordinary departure from the principle of Ministerial responsibility with PWD going over the head of the Works Minister to report directly to the Cabinet, when such a report is customarily and by convention made to the Cabinet by the Minister responsible for the department, namely Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu as Works Minister?

Has the Cabinet has lost all confidence in the capability of Samy Vellu to perform effectively as the Works Minister and to bear full and direct responsibility for PWD in Cabinet, especially as Samy Vellu’s is completing his 20 years as Works Minister in shame and ignominy with a helter-skelter of collapse of government buildings and public constructions, whether falling ceilings, cracked walls, air-conditioning breakdowns or power disruptions in spanking brand new buildings or renovations costing hundreds of millions of ringgit!

Or is Samy Vellu utterly fed up with the disgraceful performance of PWD and he is washing his hands to dissociate himself from its failings, leaving PWD to directly explain to the Cabinet on the latest scandal of Parliament as the “House of Leaks”?

Whatever the reason, the time has come for the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to terminate Samy Vellu’s long tenure as Cabinet Minister, spanning 27 years and six months, with 20 years as Works Minister short of five months.

Thirdly Najib – who will be chairing the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday as Abdullah will be making his fifth official visit to Japan since taking over as Prime Minister – does not seem to have been properly briefed about the background and history of the Parliament renovation.

Najib said yesterday that if repairs to the Parliament roof had been included in the RM90 million “massive one-year interior restoration and renovation” in 2005, the leaking roof problem now could have been avoided.

Najib was wrong when he said it was a RM90 million “massive one-year interior restoration and renovation” of Parliament in 2005.

As the Government did not intend to relocate the Parliament building to the federal government administrative centre in Putrajaya, the Cabinet approved on July 18, 2001 an allocation of RM41.8 million for renovation of Parliament House to upgrade the facilities and provide better comfort to Members of Parliament of both Houses.

The Public Works Department was instructed to draw up plans for the renovation and upgrading of facilities at the tower block and the main block of the Parliament building. Work began in November 2002 and the renovation was scheduled to be completed within 12 months.

How could Samy Vellu now say that the renovation of Parliament building did not include repair of the roof as it was not damaged then?

In the event, the Parliament renovation took three years to complete and at double the original costs.

Even now, nobody is very sure what were the costs of the Parliament renovation.

It was only when the roof of the Dewan Rakyat sprung a leak in April 2005, forcing parliamentary proceedings to a halt with water pouring into the chamber disrupting the power and communications systems, that conflicting claims about the renovation costs surfaced.

The Speaker, Tan Sri Ramli Ngah had at the time cited the cost of Parliament renovation as RM60 million, which was backed up by Samy Vellu — but which conflicted with the RM85 million figure quoted by Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, in response to my query in May 2004, as the total cost of renovation with R57 million already spent.

Later in May 2005, the Dewan Rakyat House Standing Committee was informed by the PWD of the true costs of Parliament renovation – from the original RM49,625,000 to RM85 million (with RM74.5 million spent so far) and a new tranche of expenditure totaling RM14 million awaiting Treasury approval, which would bring the total cost of Parliament renovation to RM99 million!

The total costs of the Parliament renovation would have now exceeded RM100 million and it is most regrettable that a detailed itemizing of its RM100 million renovation has not been given to MPs.

When the renovated Parliament first sprung its first leak in April 2005, Samy Vellu made a dramatic inspection on his return from an overseas visit and declared that the Parliament leak was “a small problem” despite drenching the Dewan Rakyat chamber and bringing its proceedings to a halt — quite similar to his recent arrogant and complacent remark after Parliament turned into a “House of Leaks” on May 9 that leaks after RM100 million renovation is “common!

Why is Najib unaware of this background to the trouble-prone Parliament renovation?

Fourthly, why had the House Committee, under whose jurisdiction the matter of Parliament renovation falls directly under, been completely sidelined without any role whatsoever?

At least, the House Committee had a meeting immediately after the first Parliament “leaks” in April 2001, but there are no signs of any House Committee meeting to address the second Parliament “leaks” on May 9, 2007.

Why have MPs been treated as strangers in their own institution, when MPs through the House Committee should be intimately involved in all decision-making with regard to Parliament renovation?

The Parliament Building had stood for over forty years from 1962 without any leaks but after renovation costing some RM100 million, it has shamed Parliament and the nation with two major leaks in the past two years.

It marks a terrible erosion of Malaysian standards and culture, and it is a national disgrace that such plunge in standards and benchmarks, which would have been unthinkable in the first 45 years of national independence, is now regarded as commonplace and no cause for surprise!

With Parliament stamping an international notoriety as a “House of Leaks” — heads must roll in PWD and Works Ministry or let Samy Vellu’s head roll before Parliament reconvenes on June 18 to end the third-world culture of impunity and usher a new era of first-world responsibility.

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  1. #1 by mata_kucing on Sunday, 20 May 2007 - 8:34 am

    To paraphase MCA, a fish starts to rot from its head. If he has any shame or honour, Samy would’ve resigned long time ago. But that is not going to happen does it? Like most of his colleages in the BN, the guy is so thick-skinned even a bullet cannot penetrate. The whole ministry is rotten to the core. Inspite of all the hoo-haas, nothing is going to happen. Like on cue, more buildings and infrastructures are going to collapse and more of the rakyat’s money is going to line a few pockets. Don’t expect the rotten bunch of nipcompoops to change their ways. Life is too good for them. Better than printing their own money so why should they mend their way? Conscience, guilt, moral? Who cares, they don’t have any.

  2. #2 by WFH on Sunday, 20 May 2007 - 10:27 am

    YB,
    I am indeed grateful that you are raising issues which are of great concern to the Rakyat, and conversely of great discomfort to the Govt.

    I am grateful not just that YB are raising the issues, but the enormity and worth of your contribution to Parliament and Malaysian politics is in the huge number of facts you can produce on most matters which the Govt uses to hoodwink Malaysians.

    Your contribution is in the facts you have accumulated solely because of, and from, your length of service in the political arena. There could be many up-coming politicians of equally great charisma and ability in delivering stirring speeches, but what they will lack in their ascent is their lack of compelling historical facts as regards to past debates and basis of past decisions, not just recent past but including the past of 2-3 decades ago.

    Can the other prominent Opposition personality DSAI even come close to matching you, for facts, figures, records, etc…??

    Not even close, man, not even CLOSE.

    You deserve all the respect of ALL Malaysians (I’m sure, but grudgingly, from all the BN).

    Thank you.

  3. #3 by cklife on Sunday, 20 May 2007 - 11:38 am

    Mr LKS, it’s very obvious that your grudge against BN has taken you to say something phenomenal; or perhaps seems a little too carried away that you’re condemning the government you’re currently running.

    I understood your motive; as you are trying hard to gain electoral benefit via gains from stupid things that BN had done.

    But, please note. The economical environment is very much linked to the political constrains. By overtone your criticism, you will likely to displease investor on the current political system.

    Let say, an investor is looking to market “Female Office Wear”
    And they notice that the country is having a turmoil in Gender Equality. They are likely to revert their investment to somewhere else.

    Same goes to construction, when they heard that the government is badly monitoring the country on the developmental sector, they’ll revert it to somewhere else.

    However, it’s a good implication to actually raise these issues, but, I suggest to tone it a bit more down.

    I’m not saying this because I’m an avid BN supporter. Although I used to think they are doing an overall OK jobs, I wouldn’t vote for them for the next election unless something is done for racial-equality in economical benefit :That is to give Chinese and Indian less beauracracy in setting up businesses and reduce the sharing to Malay.

    Or perhaps, take away discrimination in races for economic policy.

    I totally support your motion on NEP issue. It’s making the poorer Malay even poorer by cultural-disencouragement while making the richer Malay much richer.

    That Bocor issue became kind of redundant for now.
    You can use it as sub-issue on next general election, but don’t bring it up too much to media.

  4. #4 by k1980 on Sunday, 20 May 2007 - 1:20 pm

    If Sammy were to be in Tamilnadu, he would had been sacked and then lynched years ago for condoning corruption

  5. #5 by raven77 on Sunday, 20 May 2007 - 2:04 pm

    We can still lynch him here…..or no…hang on…we can’t…unlike the Tamils in Tamil Nadu……we don’t have balls…..

  6. #6 by al-jajawi on Sunday, 20 May 2007 - 3:30 pm

    For my extended comments visit my blog: http://al-jajawi.blogspot.com

    First two paragraphs as follows:

    In today’s (May 20, 2007) The Star and Berita Minggu, the headlines on the front pages are: ‘Big job ahead’ and ‘Najib persoal JKR’ (Najib questions PWD), respectively. The issue is the ‘roof leak’ in Parliament—which keeps simmering unabated, contrary to the wishes of Minister Shahrizat, who wanted the ‘bocor’ issue be totally plugged.

    I find it strange that Najib should tick off JKR (Public Works Department, PWD) since it is a government department directly under a cabinet colleague, S. Samy Vellu, Minister of Works. This guy has been central figure of many controversies involving highway toll hikes, highway cracks, and leaking roofs in the Parliament building. By ticking off JKR, Najib is indirectly telling off Samy Vellu to get cracking with his job. By extension, since Samy is in the Cabinet of Abdullah Badawi (Pak Lah) at the pleasure of Pak Lah, Najib is indirectly insinuating something at his boss.

  7. #7 by accountability on Sunday, 20 May 2007 - 10:22 pm

    amazing how blatantly these BN clowns get away with costly mistakes after costly mistakes without the slightest reprimand…

    …and in the end, we the rakyat, are always the ones who have to pay for their blunder (and always by the millions!!)

    this daylight robbery and lack of accountability HAS TO STOP!

  8. #8 by xaviers on Monday, 21 May 2007 - 10:39 am

    YB,

    Somehow, I get this feeling that nothing will happen to that fella. He will not be held responsible.

    How sad.

  9. #9 by Godamn Singh on Monday, 21 May 2007 - 11:04 am

    Samy’s head must roll! Yes. But before that we need to build a guillotine. Do we have a closed or open tender??

  10. #10 by firehawk on Monday, 21 May 2007 - 4:07 pm

    Im so sick of the issue of our leaking parliament. Can we just runtuh this one and bina another one. Im sure we can do that in record time.

  11. #11 by susie on Monday, 21 May 2007 - 4:50 pm

    YB,
    I have, for many years held the opinion that Samy Vellu a.k.a. Sami Bulu a.k.a. Semi Value to be kicked out of office…..[deleted] Somehow, whatever he does wrong (its just so obvious that he is at fault) he just managed to escape the punishment due to him. He is always blaming others for his and his ministry’s mistakes.
    Did you know that once I sms-ed his mobile number to complain about bad road condition in Shah Alam and do you know what reply I received…..”The area is not under Sir’s ministry.”
    Can you beat that? So whose ministry is it under, the very least he could do was to re-direct me to the rightful ministry, but No….he is so arrogant and probably got his “ass licking” assistant to reply my sms…Sir indeed!!! Since when was he bestowed the Knighthood by the Queen of England???!!!
    [deleted] and I most definitely will not want him still holding the post after all these years..even the previous PM has the decency to step down (whether he did it willingly, that is another matter altogether la) . So guess we will just have to put up with Sami Bulu till he either dropped dead or BN loses the next election.
    So people!!! wake up and vote wisely………enough of biaseness, their ministers just gets away with Murder!!! OOooopsssss!!! Have I just broken any law???? ISA might be my next home….!!!!!! I am so….oooo in trouble!!!!Do come visit me should I be detained for speaking my mind!!!! I am just so…..ooooo ready for the next election and cast my vote wisely, I shall!!!!
    You have my support all the way….YB!

  12. #12 by ktteokt on Monday, 21 May 2007 - 11:40 pm

    Blunder after blunder have occurred and our Minister of Works doesn’t seem a bit worried or anxious. First we have cracks in the flyover in Kepong, then the damage to the Ampang Highway. We also have the new courthouse in Kuala Lumpur which has defects here and there even prior to occupation. Now, after spending some RM9000 million, Parliament House, which is a solemn building housing our lawmakers, the most important part of it has been ignored.

    Human beings built houses (buildings) for one simple, to shelter from the elements. How can the government after spending RM9000 million still cannot ensure that our Wakil Rakyat be protected from the elements? Then what did they spend the RM9000 million on?

    The way things are going, the first person answerable should be the Minister of Works, but to him, it is as though nothing has happened. He has shown his disregards for the allegations put to him for the Kepong flyover and the Ampang highway. And if he could, he would also point his finger away to some department or ministry for these mistakes. Such is the attitude of an irresponsible Wakil Rakyat from Barisan Nasional.

  13. #13 by good coolie on Tuesday, 22 May 2007 - 2:12 pm

    All this leaking is bad for the morale. It shows that there is too much incompetency and “tidak apa” and “apa boleh buat” and “lebih kurang” at every level of adminitration. Bring on the British style (the colonial style) of adiministration, but minus the white tuan saheeb!
    Don’t worry about the coolies – they can build water-proof buildings. Its the stupid administration that’s causing the problem.

  14. #14 by Asiana888 on Tuesday, 22 May 2007 - 10:21 pm

    YB. All this leaks means more projects la for Semi Value. Last round is RM 90 mil ….now the new budget is at least RM 180 mil since the PWD engineers already shake their heads and said ‘banyak rosak ….’.

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