Public building mishaps – end Samy Vellu farce, get Cabinet out of the way and emulate South Korean/Singapore examples

Yesterday was the opening of the RM290 million largest court complex in the world in Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur marked by more mishaps, after the ceiling collapse in the secretarial room of Civil High Court judge Datuk Abdul Malik on Monday.

Firstly, cracks measuring more than three metres appeared on the fourth floor corridors opposite Magistrate Four.

Then one of the lifts broke down, trapping eight passengers for about half an hour.

Car parking is going to be a nightmare for lawyers and the justice-seeking public who have to go to the Jalan Duta Court Complex, which would house 77 courts comprising 26 magistrate’s courts, 21 Sessions Courts and 30 High Courts. The RM290 million Court Complex in Jalan Duta is clearly most unfriendly to the justice-seeking public.

Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu has said that his Ministry will assemble a team of experts to investigate the faults at the court complex in Jalan Duta, the Immigration Headquarters building in Putrajaya and the Entrepreneur and Co-operative Development Ministry building, also in Putrajaya.

He said the team would deliver a preliminary report on Monday for him to present to the Prime Minister at the cabinet meeting on Wednesday where further details, including repair costs, would be discussed.

I say: End the Samy Vellu farce and get Cabinet out of the way — emulate South Korean and Singapore examples to establish independent inquiries into construction disasters and prosecute defaulting parties regardless of cronies or proxies!

In the Sampoong Department store collapse in Seoul, South Korea in June 29, 1995 as a result of structural failure,, causing 501 deaths with 937 injured, the chairman of the building was charged for negligence and received a prison sentence of ten and a half years. His son, the store’s president, executives of the store and the construction company, were also jailed. Several city officials who were bribed to close an eye on the sub-standard construction were also imprisoned.

In the Nicoll Highway collapse in Singapore in April 2004, the collapse of a tunnel being constructed for use by MRT trains killed four people and injured three.

A committee of inquiry found main contractor Nishimatsu Construction Company and its officers as well as Land Transport Authority officers responsible for the collapse. Several other officers and subcontractors were reprimanded and issued warnings in connection with the accident.

Four men are facing criminal charges in the wake of the Nicoll Highway collapse, including the former project director of the Circle MRT Line, who had monitored the excavation and design work in his other capacity as the Qualified Person on the site.

I believe that if the same stringent standards are followed in Malaysia, learning from the lessons of South Korea and Singapore, collapse of public buildings will become a rare event instead of becoming a weekly scandal in the past month.

  1. #1 by pwcheng on Friday, 4 May 2007 - 6:38 pm

    YB Kit, what you had suggested is obviously falling in line with good governance and management, but the question is they have too many things to hide and nobody will want to put a noose around ones own neck. No amount of cajoling, even how good they are, will be able to turn these rascals into a new leaf. They are not prepared to deflate their wallet by listening to you or for that matter anybody. On the other hand they are only too happy of such situation because this will be another opportunity.

  2. #2 by sammyvellu on Friday, 4 May 2007 - 7:13 pm

    I am from the building construction industry. The way these tenders are held, evaluated, awarded and implemented, I am surprised that its only the ceiling that fell down.

  3. #3 by k1980 on Friday, 4 May 2007 - 7:21 pm

    We can expect Sammy’s team of experts set up to to investigate the faults in all the 3 cases to absolve the contractors from blame. Instead the blame will fall onto the suppliers for providing substandard materials. The substandard design and workmanship will of course be overlooked and the way the tenders were awarded would be covered up. And the PM would put on a show of jumping up and down and whimpering “Something is wrong somewhere”

  4. #4 by izrafeil on Friday, 4 May 2007 - 7:24 pm

    I remember clearly in MRR2 incident, Samy was saying the design is by another party whilst the construction another. So both are absolved!!, this will be repeated here!! Lim, you as taxpayer and like myself and others have to bear the cost of this stupidity (awarding to connected people)!

  5. #5 by k1980 on Friday, 4 May 2007 - 7:25 pm

    Will the Petronas Twin Towers be the next to collapse? No need for Osama to hijack planes and slam them into the towers, our contractors will take care of the job

  6. #6 by Godamn Singh on Friday, 4 May 2007 - 7:43 pm

    “..even how good they are, will be able to turn these rascals into a new leaf”. pwcheng

    Goddamn it!

    We now have the technology to turn human beings into leaves?? I must have missed something.

  7. #7 by Godamn Singh on Friday, 4 May 2007 - 7:45 pm

    “No need for Osama to hijack planes and slam them into the towers, our contractors will take care of the job.”

    Goddamn it!

    Don’t you know the towers were designed and built by an international consortium?

  8. #8 by Zeebra on Friday, 4 May 2007 - 7:57 pm

    Twin Towers are built by ang-mo. should be stable.

  9. #9 by sheriff singh on Friday, 4 May 2007 - 8:12 pm

    The next super cabinet will need a new ministry with veteran Minister Samy Vellu heading it – The Ministry of Maintenance.

  10. #10 by accountability on Friday, 4 May 2007 - 8:36 pm

    first, semivalue overspends millions of tax ringgit to build something that collapses as soon as it was completed…

    …then, semivalue will waste another huge chunk of our tax ringgit on a team of (overpaid but dubious) experts to investigate and provide reports about it
    (results which everyone already knows – bad workmanship, poor quality & blind approvals by the authorities)

    and finally, semivalue will empty our tax ringgit when they overpay for the required maintenance and repairs

    malaysia BODOH!

  11. #11 by eltoro61 on Friday, 4 May 2007 - 9:23 pm

    All this come under one word, ‘corruption’.
    Same contractor get the project and kick-backs, sublet shoddy work bad material, etc all means building will fall down. Wait until one day when the building floors come down like South Korean example, then only people will start to point fingers, wring hands, and give all kinds of excuses.

    Just haul up the contractors and shine the spotlight on them. Stop their contracts, get them to pay compensation, repair the damage, so many things the talkers can do No use to show frustration, just walk the talk. Award future contracts to companies with good track records not your relatives or friends. All this nonsense can stop overnight.

  12. #12 by kurakura on Friday, 4 May 2007 - 9:24 pm

    I dont see that any of those countries enforcement will happen in Malaysia anytime soon. Most probably it will only get worse.

  13. #13 by kurakura on Friday, 4 May 2007 - 9:35 pm

    Also, isnt it ironic that we have the biggest court complex in the world and our judiciary system is down the drain?
    It is just a machinery to prosecute people who are against the cronies. law enforcement is also appalling. Most snatch thefts are still in the streets. Corrupters are not penalised. Only the syariah court is busy punishing people issues that are ridiculous and insignificant. Also,the biggest thorn is that the court is not an independent entity.

    Why install a big tap when the water from the pipe is in trickles?

  14. #14 by malaysia born on Friday, 4 May 2007 - 9:52 pm

    Your suggestion is good but then again, this is Malaysia. So it’s wishful thinking if they will even start to consider what you had suggested.

    However if the only way for things to move A BIT will be for the next ceiling to fall down on some VIP’s or an international head of state, then so be it.

    Then again, bet you hard earn ringgit that NOBODY will be blame for the mishaps. Of course, fingers will be pointed from one dept to another but in the end, NOTHING HAPPENS ! Typical Malaysian way-eh?

    I wonder if anyone out there is still feeling proud to be a malaysian.

  15. #15 by ihavesomethingtosay on Friday, 4 May 2007 - 10:00 pm

    Is Malaysian so conditioned to the extent that we tolerates one PARIAH job after another? aren’t we becoming the joke of South East Asia?

    Bodohland is full of “F” class contractors, and half pass six ministers. we are the punch line, is acceptance in silence the Malaysian Spirit? clearly, this can’t be the Malaysia Boleh spirit we are taught about.

    And why is studies being conducted after job done, isn’t studies suppose to be conducted before a job begins?

    Is this some Pariah mentality Malaysian has to swallow daily after daily?

  16. #16 by dawsheng on Friday, 4 May 2007 - 10:18 pm

    Our govt is one that doesn’t answer to the public, everyone have to get that right, it is a undispute fact. So that makes everything around us seems very ridiculous, ten years from now, only monkeys will roam this country if we let BN had their way of running this country. Yes, we all will become monkeys.

  17. #17 by setu on Friday, 4 May 2007 - 10:27 pm

    we have the tallest, biggest, largest, longest, greatest, grandest, everything; and now some record breaking events, break-downs, falling, collapsing, cracking, bursting incidents in new buildings. It is only the BEGINNING

  18. #18 by setu on Friday, 4 May 2007 - 10:39 pm

    the critical question is who is at fault ? everyone in the semi-value chain and process from A to Z

  19. #19 by Sense of Belonging on Friday, 4 May 2007 - 11:33 pm

    In BOLEHLAND ,we are good at hardware… Opps now hardware also got problem already….

    Future look blur in BOLEHLAND …….

  20. #20 by Sense of Belonging on Friday, 4 May 2007 - 11:40 pm

    malaysia born Says:
    I wonder if anyone out there is still feeling proud to be a malaysian.

    No more… the respect /admire to our leader have been going down tremendously…

    You are right bout nothing happen. Not even single high profile case ended the PIC being charged. Recently Zakaria 3 cases filed 2 cases closed without explanation .
    You will see all the scum bags will become bolder….

  21. #21 by kelangman88 on Friday, 4 May 2007 - 11:41 pm

    come on. 63% of Malaysian is stupid. that’s why they still vote for BN. as long as there is stupid Malaysian coupled with unfair delineation of area, Malaysia is doom. I wonder whether the government now knew that Malaysia is doom. There’s no hope if they don’t change. If they know and they still don’t want to do anything, they are not Malaysian enough eventhough they are Bumiputra. As a matter of fact, I think Kit is the most Malaysian of all.

  22. #22 by japankiller on Friday, 4 May 2007 - 11:51 pm

    that’s the way they make money as thier monthly allowance.
    Build -> collapse -> hire expertise ->pay for repair -> masuk pocket.

  23. #23 by smeagroo on Saturday, 5 May 2007 - 12:36 am

    But am sure they didnt stinge on the materials in the PM’s office. Else I would love to see a ceiling fall inside there and see the reactions from Semi Dummy.

  24. #24 by Jan on Saturday, 5 May 2007 - 12:50 am

    Don’t blame Samy lah, it’s now every ministry for itself. I mean all the projects are each handled by the ministry concerned with the contract approved by EPU. I believe Samy has no control, Pak Lah has no control it’s everybody for himself.

  25. #25 by bennylohstocks on Saturday, 5 May 2007 - 2:02 am

    Holey SAM taking a break from work..

  26. #26 by ccjett on Saturday, 5 May 2007 - 2:29 am

    I strongly feel that this is another way to get more money out of the government into their own pockets. If no collapse or cracks, there wouldn’t be any “repair costs”..

  27. #27 by bditl1963 on Saturday, 5 May 2007 - 2:41 am

    All the while I am the BN support but just do not know why, I am sure a lot of the Sabahan like me too. Its very late now but I just could not feel asleep, I would like to give you my support Uncle Lim! Not only me, my whole family and friends too. You name first came to me were 20 to 30 years ago when you were refused from entering to Sabah and were forced to carry back to the plane, that time I was very young and just could not figure out why, however that was your first impression to me! I must let you know that we will support you in this comming GE, Life is getting more and more difficult. Some of my friends have left us and work in other country, whenever we meet, the conversation make me feel very unconfortable. I will be with your blog.

  28. #28 by HJ Angus on Saturday, 5 May 2007 - 12:21 pm

    Some events were in the past described as “acts of God”.

    We forgot to ask “which God?”
    Maybe it is the god of money!

    Building failure is nothing new in Malaysia. We can provide studies for collapses in an almost free-from-earthquake environment.
    The only thing is that we have not learned anything from past abuses.

  29. #29 by toyolbuster on Saturday, 5 May 2007 - 10:56 pm

    “Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu has said that his Ministry will assemble a team of experts to investigate the faults at the court complex”
    That idiot still doesn’t understand that the whole problem is HIM. He can get any expert to check, but would he? [deleted]
    I would say, go to hell Sam. enough of your pathetic nonsense

  30. #30 by toyolbuster on Saturday, 5 May 2007 - 11:29 pm

    Why bother getting experts’ opinion. Wasn’t the RM290 million Court Complex disigned and built by experts? Sam should realise that the problem is HIMself.

  31. #31 by Godfather on Sunday, 6 May 2007 - 7:43 am

    Ooooo…..asking the thieves to follow Singapore’s example ? Over their dead bodies…..

  32. #32 by Godamn Singh on Sunday, 6 May 2007 - 8:02 am

    “Come on. 63% of Malaysian is stupid. that’s why they still vote …” kelangman88

    Don’t forget to include yourself as among the 63%.

  33. #33 by Loh on Sunday, 6 May 2007 - 11:10 am

    ///I believe that if the same stringent standards are followed in Malaysia, learning from the lessons of South Korea and Singapore, collapse of public buildings will become a rare event instead of becoming a weekly scandal in the past month.///

    Agreed. The government knows the problems and the solutions too. They are unable to do it because it means that NEP will have to go. AAB has extended NEP, inspired by TDM’s remark on him perhaps, so the problems will stay.

  34. #34 by alanyeap on Tuesday, 8 May 2007 - 12:12 pm

    Wait till you see the PORR project completed with the underground passess.

    You will see the water leaking inside the bridge and the RM1.3Billions does go into the drain!!

    I doubt it will have zero defects b’cos I received some info (not verified) that the companies that fetch the projects (subcontractors) informed that of the RM1.3Billions, actual money goes into the material and labour is so less that whoever take the projects will be making losses.

  35. #35 by good coolie on Tuesday, 8 May 2007 - 2:51 pm

    Loh has hit the nail on the head. Its wrong implementation of the NEP. For that reason, I sympathise with the honest, knowledgeable and hardworking people who are into building our infrastructure. The dice is loaded against them.

  36. #36 by Jimm on Tuesday, 8 May 2007 - 4:04 pm

    We just need to understand that’s why everyone want to become a politician. They are licenced to make monies from their ‘services’

  37. #37 by jumpingjack on Wednesday, 13 June 2007 - 4:23 pm

    I guess a lot of people are thinking about migrating. It is not just about being unsafe to be on the street after night fall, a lot of times, you don’t even feel safe to be at home. Theft is so common and day-light-robbery is chasing the trend. With our current government, i wonder what better future we can have in Malaysia beside seeing the buildings collapse one after another, day after day despite being an earthquake free country, as mentioned by another blogger earlier.

    As for now, nothing will happen to Samy. They will drag on the investigation and then slowly reducing news about the issue and then put a lame explanation as finale. This has been common. Be it with Samy, Zakaria or Rafidah. They will find their way out gracefully as an innocent man.

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