Thursday, May 28, 2009

DELAYS IN CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS FOR ARMED FORCES

I had been observing since my days in the military that any construction projects undertaken for the Armed Forces will take an exceptionally long period to complete. But if one were to observe a project undertaken for the private sector, it would normally be completed on schedule. Having no knowledge about the construction industry, I begin to seek answers for these unusual delays.

I would have thought that from the point of view of the developer, the sooner he completes his job, the better it is for him. And the longer he delays the completion, the costlier it will be for him. This would normally be the understanding of the construction industry from the ordinary person’s view. But strangely enough, construction projects for the Armed Forces seems to be that the longer the delay, the better it is, and there must be some mysterious reason for this.

Let’s take the construction of the Mindef Transit Camp, which I was told, was awarded on the basis of a land swap i.e. the developer will have to complete the project first, before they can have possession of an agreed piece of land that belongs to the Armed Forces. In the case of the Mindef Transit Camp, the return offer was some parcel of Armed Forces land along Jalan Ampang. The Mindef Transit Camp is now completed, but it took the developer more than 12 years. Even the development of Putrajaya did not take that long. Amazing, isn’t it?

Next is the officers married quarters and the other ranks married quarters at Mindef complex, and at Sg. Besi Army Camp respectively. These two projects are nearing a decade, and I wonder if both the projects are completed.

And at one time before, we had a project at Muara Tuang, Sarawak that was supposed to be the new location for the Divisional HQ. In my last position as the Chief of Staff (Operations) at Army Field Command, it used to be a joke every time the Field Commander makes a visit to Muara Tuang. The joke among us officers was, “melawat Muara Tuang….nak tuang lah tu!” I am told that the project at Muara Tuang has started, after a long delay.

Now back to the Mindef Transit Camp. Out of sheer curiosity, I decided to take a look at the new complex which they say is likened to a 3 star hotel for the soldiers and their families that are on transit to East Malaysia. From the outside, the building looks grand and exciting. But if one were to take a serious look at the construction, the building is shoddy and lacks finesse in its final touches. There has already been leakages in some parts of the building, and it will not be long before pieces of the ceiling will break apart. I am certainly not an engineer, but I can claim to be good at observing things that are not right.

The question that I need to ask is, “what are the causes of the long delays to complete construction projects for the Armed Forces, and why has it been allowed to be delayed?” The answer I got from a friend was, “it must be the work of cronies, and only cronies now a days can get away with murder”. That answer was not pleasing to my ear, but I suppose it has some truth.


CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION

9 comments:

maurice said...

The transit camp project is a disgrace.It should not have happened the way how Dato Arshad described it since a former PAT (I was told) was involved in the project.He should have fought tooth and nails to protect the interest of the Army against marauding and hungry businessman close to one former Defence Minster.

About the Married Officers' Complex at Mindef, why is it still not completed after almost a decade?The best party to answer this question would be Syarikat Perumahan Negara, the company given to handle the project.

eli said...

Whom should be blamed for the delay...contractors or individuals that approved and awarded the contracts.

mohamad said...

There must be something fishy going on for a building construction project to have taken almost a decade!

Who is the contractor? He may be a filty rich guy by now, after siphoning government money without delivering a completed job!

The Mindef KSU should be hauled up by the KSN for failing to make sure that the contractor meets the contractual requirements.

Don't tell me this is another classic case of "I scratch your back and you scratch mine"! MACC, what are you waiting for?

I have been informed that the old officers' married quarters, some of them were nice brick and air-conditioned bungalows, were demolished and since then officers had to be given rentals by the government to stay in private houses. One can imagine how much the government had to spend for the officers' housing rentals for ten years. What a sheer waste!

Why such a long delay? I question the credibility and competency of the contractor.... is it another two-ringgit crony company? MACC has another job!

maurice said...

For the MQs at Mindef there are 3 parties involved: KSU, SPN and the contractor.

This project is beyond KSU's scope of decison making.SPN will make the decision to whom the project is awarded.Visit its website and look who sits as its Chairman.A politician!

I will not be surprised if the project is given to political cronies.This one dollar company will then sell the project to another company, probably making 10-15% profit margin.

The second company most likely will then sell it again to another company which had happened in the case of the land swap Mindef Transit Camp project.So we are talking about 1-2 companies making clean profit from the original contract amount.

The company carrying the baby will of course cut corners in order to deliver the project.In some cases like the Mindef Transit Camp Project, variation orders were submitted by the contractor and approved by KSU.This company will depend on the variation order to make some profit.In most cases variation order take time to approve.This is one of the main reasons why it is taking a long time to complete the project.

Millions have been stolen by these two dollar companies.SPN must be directed to produce audit report similar to the PKFZ project.The public has the right to know why housing projects for soldiers are mishandled.

mohamad said...

Thank you, maurice, for giving the possibilities what could have happened. What you have indicated sounds very familiar in this country!

If this problem was beyond what KSU could handle, it would look as if the crony contractor was calling all the shots and he took command of the minister of defence and the government!

YAB PM and YB Minister of Defence, we must not allow this type of shoddish handling of government projects to continue happenning.
We must make the contractors responsible and accountable even if he were your own son or brother!

The Rakyats know what is happening and if the government continues accepting similar failures in the future, we may have to abandon the ship, we may have to choose a sampan which is safer!

eli said...

Dato'

There are many more 'projek sakit' of the MOD throughout the country. If those around MINDEF that the relevant authority is unabled to monitor effectively,what do we expect on those projects further away from the corridor of power.

I agree with Mohamad that there is the element of ' I scratch your back and you scratch mine'.

About time that some parties or individuals should be taken to task !!!

WaliMuar said...

Dato,
Cerita pasal Construction kat Mindef tu Dato adalah cerita basi.Ade ke SPRM melompat terus siasat ape yang Dato tulis.Mereka semua kenyang Dato baik Pegawai ATM yang jaga Klas F,orang orang JKR yang kerja kat kem tentera dan mereka kat JKR Cawangan tentera semua kenyang.Eloklah SPRM buat siasatan segera dan hapuskan semua pengkhianat bangsa dan negara ni.

komando said...

MUARA TUANG = GOOD STUDENTS OF SD WING WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER THIS CASE STUDY EXERCISE... AT LONG LAST IT BECOMES A REALITY...!

HURAY...THREE CHEERS FOR ATM!

komando said...

If MINDEF can rid itself off Corruption then, the days will be blues skies and everything nice!

Remember the RM 2.80 cents MAGGI MEE CASE!

Haiyah, waste more time talking only, sack all the generals..remove all the civilian staff...and maybe we have a chance to start afresh!