14 RM70,000 Ops Sikap XII watchtowers worth only half or less?

Works Minister, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu has denied the allegation of the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan that five of the 14 traffic watchtowers are unsafe for use — with one each in Selangor, Penang, Perak, Malacca and Negri Sembilan.

Sin Chew Daily reported with photograph on Thursday that the watchtower built at Tampin-Gemas Road 16km was so fragile and unsafe that it had been abandoned for the safety of the traffic policemen on duty.

It was first reported on 12th February 2007 (with photograph) that 14 manned watchtowers will be built in accident-prone stretches of federal, state and municipal roads for use durings Ops Sikap 12.

Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy had announced that the Cabinet had approved close to RM1 million to build the first 14 watchtowers in Peninsular Malaysia on roads where nine out of every 10 fatal accidents occur, and that each tower is expected to cost the Public Works Department about RM70,000.

On the same day, I received the following SMS from someone from the construction industry:

“Today’s NST page 8 prime news says 14 watch towers to cost government RM70k each is grossly over-priced. “

When I SMSed back to ask what would be the proper price range for such watchtowers, back came the reply:

“25 — 30k with transport and installation costing 5k a piece.”

Bearing in mind the scandal of the RM30,000 Kung Fu Chinese primary school (Muar) repair contract where only RM3,000 value of work was delivered, what is the “leakage” in the nearly million-ringgit worth of 14 watchtowers?

After the lesson of RM3,000 value of work actually delivered for RM30,000 school renovation project, there should be audit for everyone of the 14 traffic watchtowers built for Ops Sikap XII as to whether they are safe and each really worth RM70,000 for the safety of traffic policemen and road users.

Although the 14 traffic watchtowers is a comparatively minor construction project as compared to mega-projects running into tens or hundreds of millions or even billions of ringgit, the safety of the traffic policemen and road users are at stake and this matter should not be taken lightly.

Let there be transparency and accountability as to how and to who the contract or contracts had been awarded to.

It is of course not for Samy Vellu to conduct any such an audit. I call on the Auditor-General to immediately dispatch a team to audit the construction and cost of the 14 watchtowers and make a public report.

  1. #1 by Godfather on Friday, 23 February 2007 - 3:36 pm

    Let’s find out who the contractor is, and what relationship there is to UMNO or BN. You don’t stop these small corrupt practices now, it is just going to get worse.

  2. #2 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Friday, 23 February 2007 - 3:56 pm

    Samy Vellu again!

    If he cannot ‘jaga’ 14 watchtowers properly, can we trust him with more? For that matter, can we trust the entire BN team with more – with another 5 years?

    Somehow, when I think of BN, I keep thinking of James Stewart’s ‘Den of Thieves’ – a non-fiction story about thieves who work from the inside of the establishment. Can you blame me?

  3. #3 by izrafeil on Friday, 23 February 2007 - 4:36 pm

    anymore towers to be ERECTED, i am fairly horny to get gomen jobs now!

  4. #4 by WFH on Friday, 23 February 2007 - 6:03 pm

    It’s so so soooo very tiring, to continually have to look over Samy Vellu’s ministry’s “development and infrastructure” projects, even those so small as watch-towers for traffic and road safety reasons. When will the time come when there is no need to expend our precious energy on these matters? In other words, when will these people be seen to, and then actually do, act honestly in the first instance?

    You know, even watchdogs get exhausted when the things being watched over continues to repeat, and repeat, and repeat, and repeat.

    Hasn’t the Auditor-General a frontline role in these matters of public funding? And I’m not referring to reading his report tabled in Parliament YEARS after the events have happened, and public funds for those projects already long gone.

  5. #5 by grace on Friday, 23 February 2007 - 6:08 pm

    Scandals come and scandals go but our corrupted ministers stay. This is the rule of thegame inour beloved nation.

  6. #6 by Educator on Friday, 23 February 2007 - 7:48 pm

    How come a 25k or 30k tower becomes 70k? Who is pocketing the difference? It’s about two and a half times more.
    Are all our mega-projects bloated by the same multiplying factor?

  7. #7 by abbas gany on Friday, 23 February 2007 - 7:54 pm

    I wonder what is transparency? I still cannot comprehend the word transparency? Why talk about transparency when no one cares too hoots about transparency. They still keep on awarding mega contracts and minor contracts without any form of detailed costing, but simply a lumpsum figure. I think any secondary school student could come out with figures.

    Costing declared approximately Rm 400 mil could magically transform into Rm 700mil FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!! WE HAVE SUCH MATHEMATICAL GENIUSES IN THIS COUNTRY AND WHO MAKE US PLAIN IDIOTS OR RATHER STUPID IDIOTS

  8. #8 by smeagroo on Friday, 23 February 2007 - 8:49 pm

    small matter la. If rm40mil can be bloated to RM70mil this is relatively chicken feed. But like YB said, let not the safety of our police personnel be taken for granted. Someone pocketed the difference for sure and if this gets away more plundering will be done in the next project. Anyway, was driving along Fed Hiway today and noticed few motorists using the yellow lane. A policeman on bike rode past them and did nothing. Maybe it is non of his biz. Maybe govt need to employ more Mat Rempits to be their eyes and ears.

  9. #9 by mendela on Friday, 23 February 2007 - 9:39 pm

    Looks like the hyenas of BN and her cronies are extremely hungry now, big or tiny projects all want to ‘ gasak’!

  10. #10 by democrate on Saturday, 24 February 2007 - 8:18 am

    If each wacthtower costs RM 70,000 is true these bundle of lanun or sea pirates in the BN territory should be better off than the bank robbers , from the picture it is just like a temporary platform for maintainance work malu lah bodohlah sound also like pak dolah !

  11. #11 by Bigjoe on Saturday, 24 February 2007 - 8:49 am

    It would help if pictures of the watchtowers were put up. I think I have seen it. If its what I seen is correct, definitely RM70K each is too high. I can put up one in concrete with toilet and airconditioning for that kind of a price…

  12. #12 by naked taliban on Saturday, 24 February 2007 - 8:51 pm

    Same dog ,same tricks.This is BN circus , on completion these towers will cost double ,without toilet and airconditioning .

  13. #13 by accountability on Sunday, 25 February 2007 - 3:26 am

    with all these ridiculous costs dug from the gravy train, no wonder this semi-value minister is getting fatter by the day!

    his greed obviously knows no bounds – from inflated bridge repair costs, to cancelled bridge compensations and exorbitant toll rates, nothing seems to appease his never-ending over-inflated cost estimates and claims!

  14. #14 by DarkHorse on Sunday, 25 February 2007 - 1:42 pm

    “Today’s NST page 8 prime news says 14 watch towers to cost government RM70k each is grossly over-priced. “

    This is the classic “dracula” effect in play – multiplier effect and all.

  15. #15 by flint on Sunday, 25 February 2007 - 9:01 pm

    when i saw in the TV news..there were just scaffoldings…not really tower…

  16. #16 by undergrad2 on Sunday, 25 February 2007 - 9:41 pm

    Is Malaysia a POW camp that needs watchtowers to monitor the activities of prisoners?? This shows clearly the mindset of those who coin the term “watchtowers” to describe these structures and convince me that PDRM has not progressed much beyond its colonial image of “mata-mata” of the 50s.

  17. #17 by DarkHorse on Monday, 26 February 2007 - 12:13 am

    Is this the latest in the “snoop and snitch” culture – having watchtowers to spy on the activities of road users??

  18. #18 by student123 on Tuesday, 6 March 2007 - 12:36 pm

    I pass by one of those watchtowers everyday from my daily commune to my college and let me tell you, these towers are empty with no one manning them. The only time I see the towers manned are only during festive season. So what’s the purpose of these towers anyway? They’re probably going to last another 3 to 5 years due to wear and tear and then the government is going to spend more moolah on it to repair these towers which are only used during festive season.

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