Thursday, November 04, 2004

POS SLIM Highway is Dangerous



The Simpang Pulai-Cameron Highlands stretch of the East-West Highway will be closed daily after sunset until further notice. The closure was ordered by the Cabinet today after engineers recently found that the stretch was too dangerous for motorists. It was earlier reported that water had seeped into the slopes along the highway and some movement had been detected, especially between Pos Slim and Kampung Raja. Samy Vellu had also said that there was some movement of between 0.3m and 0.45m.

On the 4th Feb 2004, The Star reported that the 282mil highway from Pos Slim to Kampung Raja in Cameron Highlands is completed but PWD has refused to issue a safety certification for the road. The PWD feels that it’s dangerous for use as km22.5 and 25.5 is too steep and prone to landslides. The slope gradient was not constructed in accordance to the PWD standard. The PWD is of the opinion that the construction has not met its requirement.

On 17th October 2004, The Star again reported a statement from the State Director of Perak PWD, Datuk Dorairaju. “We know the road was not really completed when we opened it in February. It was opened after pressure from the people in Cameron Highlands who were affected by a landslide near Ringlet,” commented Datuk Dorairajoo.

According to Samy Vellu, the Works Ministry was considering closing the highway in order to facilitate the construction of a proposed new tunnel which will be 1.5km long. The tunnel is expected to cost between $30-50million.


Why was the tunnel not designed and built by the earlier Turnkey Contractor?

Is it a question of design omission, or a failure of the PMC & design consultants to take into consideration the fundamental requirements during the earlier contract?

Is there a Failure of Duty of Care, Professional Negligence and can TORT actions be taken? Or, did the Turnkey contractor failed to comply to the requirements stipulated in the Need Statement of the contract?

The project was a Design-Built-Lump Sum contract from point A to point B (as per the need statement from PWD).

How could it be that we now say we will need a tunnel when the designers had not deemed necessary at the point of the contract been made?

Was the designer over-ruled?

Did the contractor short-change the Government?

PWD and Works Ministry had to answer it point blank and not hide behind the maxim of Act-of-God again. Infact, ACA should be as pro-active as they had been with the Karak Highway investigation, by investigating this problem.

Coincidently, both the problematic highway (Simpang Pulai- Kampung Raja and Karak Highway) were constructed TURNKEYED by MTD Capital.

The problem that have surfaced now and more to come in the future was predictable and known-knowns. It is just that our Ministers choose to side-step the issues that were raised before it happen (before the contract formation), and hope it doesn't happen (after the contract completion). JKR Perak knew of the problem. They couldn't talk out loud as they may lose their job and income.

Well, Murphy's Law again: If you think it can happen, It will happen! & The solution to a problem breeds new and more virulent problems. Problem begets problem. Inefficiency breeds inefficiency.

Datuk Seri Samy should admit his delinquency and work towards an effective solutions, even if it has to be painful to vindicate himself. He should not be shielding incompetencies and the incompetent contractors. He must wake up, and for once, solve those problems he had allowed to happen when he concurred on those decisions with his fello cabinet ministers, of which he shall have to accept responsibility and the consequences for the last 20 years of folly and political patronage.

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