Call on Samy Vellu to state whether it is true that cracks on the MRR2
Kepong flyover had been discovered much earlier during the “Defect
Liability Period” well before May this year when heavy traffic was banned
and that there is a top PWD recommendation to demolish and reconstruct the
defective cross-heads to rectify the structural defects of the flyover
Media Conference Statement
- when visiting the MRR2 Kepong flyover together with DAP MPs
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Monday): After his very clear threat last week to stop repair work on the Middle Ring Road Two (MRR2) Kepong flyover and to prolong its three-month closure if the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) conducts investigations into the MRR2 project, the Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu seems to relish his announcement yesterday that he had ordered the contractors and engineers involved in repair works on the defective section of the Middle Ring Road 2 (MRR2) to stop work following a request by the ACA to carry out their investigations.
Samy Vellu said: “They (ACA) have asked for our co-operation and we have obliged. They want to take photographs and carry out other investigations. We will be obstructing them if we continue our repair work.”
This latest development in the MRR2 Kepong flyover cracks, which had to be suddenly closed to traffic the previous Sunday without notice as it posed a “threat to public safety”, raises many disturbing questions about accountability, transparency and good governance.
Firstly, there is very little public confidence that the ACA will have the power and independence to uncover any corruption, abuse of power or irregularities in the RM238 million Package 11 the MRR2 which includes the defective 1.7 km flyover between the Taman Bukit Maluri and Forest Research Institute of Malaysia interchanges, as the ACA has yet to land a single one of the 18 “high profile corruption cases”which was promised in February this year.
Secondly, while the Malaysian public fully supports ACA investigations into the MRR2 scandal –the closure of the Kepong flyover in two years when it should be able to stand for 50 years without any structural problems – ACA investigations should not stand in the way of the most urgent task at hand, to ensure that the Kepong flyover ceases to be a “threat to public safety” and that it could be used again in the shortest possible time to end the nightmarish traffic gridlock affecting hundreds of thousands of people.
Nobody seriously suggest for instance that all remedial work should stop in a plane crash, train wreckage or major man-made disaster affecting scores of lives or the livelihood of thousands or tens of thousands of people, so that a corruption investigation which might lead to nowhere could be conducted.
The ACA can begin to investigate into the MRR2 Kepong flyover scandal, but it should not be an excuse to forestall immediate remedial work to rectify its defect so that it could be operational in the shortest possible time, or be a justification to avoid public accountability as to how such a scandal could take place.
If all that the ACA wants is to take photographs of the flyover cracks, surely it would not need more than one, two or even three days – so why is Samy Vellu giving the impression that all repair work on the MRR2 Kepong flyover is put on hold indefinitely until completion of the ACA investigations, which can take months and even years and still end up inconclusively?
A responsible Works Minister would have offered the fullest co-operation to the ACA, but at the same time, impressing on the ACA on the priority of the public interests to ensure that the status of the MRR2 Kepong flyover as a”threat to public safety” – whether with or without traffic – is ended in the shortest possible time and to allow its re-operation.
However, Samy Vellu has given the impression that he has jumped on the ACA investigations as an excuse to abdicate his Ministerial responsibility firstly, to end its “threat to public safety” status and ensure that the MRR2 Kepong flyover could be operational in the shortest possible time in the interests of tens of thousands of people, and secondly, to set an example of accountability, transparency and good governance in the handling of the scandal.
In the circumstances, Samy Vellu should be aware that there are people who believe that he is using the ACA investigations to avoid public accountability and to throw light on the many questions about the MRR2 Kepong flyover scandal, which runs counter to the pledge by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi to run a clean, incorruptible, accountable, transparent, efficient and people-oriented government.
The Prime Minister and the Cabinet on Wednesday should give clear instructions to Samy Vellu that ACA investigations cannot be used as an excuse to avoid full public accountability for the MRR2 scandal and to ensure that the Kepong flyover is made operational in the shortest possible time.
In this connection, I call on Samy Vellu to state whether it is true that cracks on the MRR2 Kepong flyover had been discovered much earlier during the “Defect Liability Period” well before May this year, when heavy traffic was banned and that there is a top PWD recommendation to demolish and reconstruct the defective cross-heads to rectify the structural defects of the flyover.
A few other questions which Samy Vellu cannot run away include:
1. Why is Samy Vellu so categorical that there is no design failure, when in the same breath, he said “the authorities had yet to determine the cause”? (Bernama 10.8.04) Isn’t it true that the consultant from Germany appointed by the Public Works Department pointed to design failure, questioning the finding of the consultant from Australia engaged by the contractor, Bumi Hiway?
2. As the MRR2 Package 11 covering the Kepong flyover is a “Design and Build Turnkey Contract”, wouldn’t the Public Works Department be equally responsible with the contractor and the design consultant if there is any design failure, as the project design by the contractor and consultant would first have to be vetted and approved by the Public Works Department?
3. When were the flyover cracks first discovered. If it is true that cracks and defects of the MRR2 Kepong flyover had been discovered during the “Defect Liability Period” well before May this year, what had the Works Ministry done during all this period to rectify the defects.
4. Has the MRR2 Kepong flyover been handed over officially to the authorities by Bumi Hiway and if so, when was it done, and the date the Certificate of Practical Compliance (like the Certificate of Fitness for Occupation for houses) had been issued by the Public Works Department.
5. When was the MRR2 Kepong flyover gazetted to be opened for use by the public?
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader,
Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor & DAP National Chairman