Feb 2, 2007

MRR2 repair bill - From RM 40 millions to RM 70 millions

Samy oh Samy, how are you going to waste the Rakyat's money this time?

Promise that there will be no more repair work for MRR2? After all, we consulted the German this time, right?!

KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 2, 2007): How did the repair bill on the Middle Ring Road 2 (MRR2) balloon from some RM40 million, as reported a year ago, to RM70 million now?

The answer from Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu yesterday is that this amount includes the fee for the German consultant appointed to do the repair early last year.

He said 31 out of 33 pillars holding up the flyover in Kepong were repaired instead of 18 as initially decided.

The ministry decided to cover all the pillars because it did not want other problems to occur after the repair was carried out.

"That is why the repair cost had increased to RM70 million. The cost was not only for the repair work but also (covers) the pay for the appointed German consultant," he told reporters.

He was responding to Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee chairman Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad's statement on Wednesday revealing the final cost to be RM70 million, and that it was higher than expected as the flyover was built at a cost of RM120 million.

Shahrir had also said the design-and-build concept used in this project had made it difficult to determine which party -- the design consultant or contractor -- should be responsible once the project was completed.

Samy Vellu did not give a breakdown of the RM70 million bill, although in a Bernama report dated Feb 22 last year, he was quoted as saying the repair of the 31 pillars would cost more than RM40 million.

The report said a German consultant firm had been appointed to do the repair.

The flyover was built by a consortium, Sukmin-Bumi Hiway-KKM (Wilayah), based on a design by consultant firm Maunsel, Sharma & Zakaria.

Problems surfaced in 2004 after an Utusan Malaysia report mentioned the cracks on the 31 pillars. Independent consultant Halcrow Group Ltd of Britain, which was appointed to study the problem, confirmed this.

The flyover was closed in August 2004 and reopened in December the same year. It was closed again in February 2006 and reopened in August.

Asked whether the design-and-build concept practised by the government in offering construction projects to contractors was flawed, Samy Vellu said the Public Works Department (PWD) would investigate whether it was flawed and take appropriate action.

"The concept cannot be deemed unsuitable as we have built many projects under this concept nationwide, but in one or two matters, a mistake had occurred," he said.

"If we did not want to employ this concept, one single project can take at least three or four years to complete. It is globally-known concept."

Samy Vellu said the government would build an interchange in front of Batu Caves, crossing the railway line.

He said he had also asked Tourism Minister Datuk Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor to consider building a funicular railway from the foot of Batu Caves to the top.

"Tengku Adnan has asked the PWD to conduct a study on it and a report shall be submitted to him," he said.

In a statement, DAP national deputy chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw called on the Works Ministry to make public the detailed expenditure for the Kepong MRR2 project and the recent repair work.

"We need to know the details of the total cost of the Kepong MRR2 project, including the heavy repair. Who pays for the repair?" Tan said.

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