Each time I take the route along MMR2 overlooking the newly built army housing complex at Sg. Besi camp, I say to myself that this was the place that I last served prior to my retirement. And seeing the new housing complex, I thought it will be the final solution to the housing problems of soldiers who had to go on rentals, since there were an acute shortage of public housing for the soldiers during my time.
The construction took a long period of time to complete; almost a decade; and it was only last night that I was told that the developer i.e. Syarikat Perumahan Negara (SPN) had done a shoddy job. If one were to view the housing complex from the exterior, it will look good, but getting into the houses speaks a different kind of story. I inquired further, only to be told that the military authorities in Sg. Besi have refused to take over most of the houses because of the numerous defects found to the houses. Now where do we go from here, and whom do you blame.
Millions have been spend, and millions more will be spend on infrastructure development for the Armed Forces, and each time a contract is awarded to someone, the result is full of uncertainty.Why has this to be so, if it is not because of the massive corruption that is all too familiar in the construction industry. Someone did say to me that the construction industry in this country is the most corrupt industry, and there is little doubt now that SPN has proven it to be so.
These are some of the real issues that the Armed Forces should be serious about i.e. proper housing for soldiers, and not be too enthusiastic about the procurement of military hardwares that costs billions. What good are these billion ringgit military hardwares if your soldiers are living in dilapidated houses, and where the maintenance money is never enough?
I did make a comment regarding the dilapidated and famous Army Combat Training Center (PULADA) in Ulu Tiram, Johore in some earlier postings. I say famous because even the former Ugandan President Addi Amin was trained in that center when it was occupied by the British Forces in the 50's. I did ask someone to make a visit to the center and to witness for themselves the terrible state of affairs at the center. I say, just throw one billion ringgit from the eight billion ringgit allocated for the 8x8 IFV project, and I can assure you that with that money, you can get three ultra-modern PULADAs that will benefit hundreds of officers and soldiers. At least with an ultra-modern PULADA, we will no longer be ashame to receive visitors from overseas and to show them that the Malaysia Army's training facility is comparable, if not better than that of other modern armies. I served PULADA twice, and I was terribly ashame to take my foreign visitors on a tour around the center.
Once again, I say where have we gone wrong? I think the answer lies in the leadership.
CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION