Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Goodbye Pelangi, Welcome Berinda

In 1975, Frank Goon, the son-in-law of Phillip Kuok, the brother of Robert Kuok and director of Kuok Group, ventured into property development.

He bought the first piece of land in Tebrau, and named it Taman Pelangi. which means Rainbow Garden.

Thus, is the beginning of Pelangi Sdn Bhd.

It was tough in the beginning but Frank was determine in his one man crusade to proof to the Kuok's family that he can built an empire from dust.

Frank believes in doing things differently. He pioneered the 24 feet (8 meter)wide terrace houses. Those days, houses are built at 20-22 feet width. Frank saw the need of residents for a wider home where the hall and dining hall can be slightly bigger for comfort.

Frank felt that at 20-22 feet, houses are claustrophobic. With the wider space, the bedrooms can be bigger and the built-in furnitures design can be more posh. At the same time, these houses can have the space to park a minimum of two cars within the compounds.

Frank's business boom and Pelangi became a household name in Johor Bahru. The company was listed in the stock exchange and for decades, they made good money and gave investors something to cheer about.

Then, this year, Kuok Brothers exited Pelangi and sold the entity to Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB). Frank resigned from Pelangi.

Today, Frank is rebranding a new product called Berinda. Berinda will spearhead the property business of Kuok Brothers (KBSB). The existing housing projects under Kuok, that is, Taman Impian Emas, Taman Molek, Taman Redang and Taman Penderosa will be brought under the Berinda brand name.

Berinda will now challenge the established brand Pelangi in Johor market. Will they succeed? I believe so. Frank is known to be an innovative and creative crusader. He had hand-picked and pluck away the good salesperson from Pelangi and all his core personals from Pelangi is now with him in Berinda.

In the six months since Frank exited Pelangi and headed Kuok Bros property division, KBSB had chalked up housing sales totalling RM150 million, while Pelangi seems to have lost much of it rigour. In the last two years, KBSB was not even achieving half of the sales amount. That's testimony of the leadership of a property crusader.

Within the next six months, the results will tell.

So, did PNB made the right decision to remove Frank or to acquire the interest of Pelangi? I think that decision will be fatal to Pelangi's future.

Read this article: Robert Kuok Exit Pelangi

Monday, October 17, 2005

Privatisation Fiasco Unfolded Again

Police Contract Posted by Picasa

It was suppose to be an ingenious way to build housing for the police to resolve its accommodation problems. The government transferred 3 pieces of prime police land to a private developer and develop and sell and in return, the developer will build police stations and living quarters for the police.

However, the developer completed his commercial projects worth RM110 million but the quarters and police station remain incomplete. It is alleged that the developer had raked in millions in profit but abandoned the remaining works consisting of police stations and police quarters.

In June, the Prime Minister announced that the government had approved RM2.5 billion to provide better housing and working environment for policemen including reviving abandoned police housing projects nationwide.

This is not something unknown in Malaysia ... it is a continuing fiasco of the privatisation program mooted by Diam Zainuddin with the approval of Mahathir.

It was design to fail from the beginning and the results confirmed it.

In the first place, the contract were awarded to some well-connected politicians who sub-contract the commercial portions to some property developers in return for several millions in commissions. After building the portions and selling them, they pocket all the monies jointly. Now, they have to cough out money to build the police stations and quarters which is zero income and 100% liabilities. None of them, the concessionaires and the developers, would want to fork out these monies which runs into millions. What they had gained, they have kaput it, and sudah belanja untuk beli rumah bungalow, mercedes, kawin empat; wang pun sudah habis ... So, balance of the project have to be abandoned and the government must now come in to rescue.

This is the concept of Malaysia Incorporated and Malaysia privatisation's Success. Don't blame the concessionaires alone. They had to pay millions to some guys too. They don't get all! Maybe, Diam Zainuddin should be brought back to rescue these projects because he had played a large part to make this happen.

Or, alternatively, Khairy can come up with a better idea to privatise the reconstruction under the NEP and UMNO Agenda ... This is not the first and would not be the last. Do a research and you will find the answer - It is all within the UMNO Agenda from the very beginning.

Innovative & Creative Toilet Design

I received an email that attached various pictures of which three of them impressed me:

Musical toilet.

Trumpet-shape closet with piano by the side.

Innovative & creative!!!

Public toolbox.

Wow...that relieving!

The city is caring! Men can now relieved themselves if they had an urgent call!

Men's toilet.

Even the urinals are psychologically appeasing!

Is that what can satisfy a man?

Friday, October 14, 2005

Pusat Niaga Permata Magna

I was asked by a friend who had bought a commercial premise in Kl to peruse an invoice issued by Magna Park pertaining to the delivery of Vacant Possession (VP).

Magna Park has directed the purchaser to take delivery of VP(letter dated 26th September 2005) and had invoiced $12,775.00 for quit rent, insurances and maintenance cost.

The invoice states that the purchaser is required to pay within 14 days for:

Quit Rent for year 2004 and 2005 $1,588.80
Insurance Premium for invoice Year 2004 and 2005 $1,186.60
Maintenance Charges invoiced $5,400.00
Renovation Deposit $4,500.00
Consent Fee $100.00

Reading the the invoice, I was perplex and flabbergasted.

Isn't this daylight robbery?

First, the letter dated 26th September 2005 informed the purchaser to take delivery of vacant possession. Therefore, vacant possession could only take place after this date.

The Sales and Purchase Agreement (S&P) states that Upon completion of the said Property, and ONLY upon completion, the purchaser will then be required to insure and keep insured the respective property against loss or damages (section 4.03(a). 4.03(b) of the S&P states that "From the date the Purchaser takes vacant possession of the said Property or the date deemed to have taken vacant possession, the purchaser will then have to pay insurance premium."

Similarly, section 5.06 of the S&P states that the Purchaser shall from the date he takes vacant possession contribute from time to time, a fair and justifiable proportion of the cost and expenses of their maintenance, upkeep and repair.

Both the two conditions clearly specify that such payment for maintenance and insurance shall only be paid after the delivery of Vacant Possession. What is puzzling is that the invoiced payment was for the period 2004 and 2005. Assuming that Vacant Possession did take place in September 2005, how can the developer invoice quit rent, maintenance and insurance premium for 2004 and 2005? Is this fraud?

Coming back to Vacant Possession, the developer had only sent this letter informing the purchaser that Vacant Possession can now take place.

However, Clause 23 of the Housing Development Act 1966 (HDA 1966) specify the Time for delivery of vacant possession. It states that Vacant Possession shall be delivered to the Purchaser in the manner prescribed in Clause 24 HDA 1966.

Clause 24(1) stipulates the manner of delivery of Vacant Possession. First, the Architect must certify that the construction of the property must be duly completed and water and electricity supply are ready for connection; and secondly, the Vendor has applied for the issuance of the Certificate of Fitness for Occupation from the Authority in compliance with all the relevant provisions of the Uniform By-Law 1984. Then if all these are complied, the purchaser would then be required to pay all other monies due under the S&P; thereupon, the Vendor shall let the purchaser take possession of the said property.

Clause 24(2) states that the delivery of vacant possession by the Vendor SHALL (must) be supported by (a) a certificate by the Architect certifying that the building is duly constructed and completed in accordance with the terms and conditions stipulated in the S&P and also in compliance with the relevant Acts, By-Laws, and Regulations imposed by the Authority; and that (b) a letter of confirmation from the Authority certifying that FORM E as prescribed under the Uniform Building By-Law 1984 has been duly submited by the Vendor, checked and accepted by the Authority.

At such, it is condition precedent that the vendor must have fully complied with Clause 24, that is, the purchaser must have received a Certificate of Completion issued by the Architect; and the Vendor had submitted FORM E to the Authority and it was duly accepted by the Authority; and that water and electricity supply are made ready for connection to the said Building; then the Vendor can seek to deliver vacant Possession to the Purchaser and the Purchaser would then be required to pay all the other monies due.

The vendor will have to deliver all the documentary proof to the purchaser that they had duly complied with Clause 24; otherwise, the property will not be construed to be ready for vacant possession. If the contract period had passed and the Vendor fails to deliver vacant possession, the Vendor shall be liable to pay to the Purchaser Liquidated Damages (LAD) at the rate of 10% per annum calculated from the date stipulated in the contract (S&P) to the date when the Purchaser takes Vacant Possession. Such LAD shall be paid immediately upon the date the Purchaser takes Vacant Possession (Clause 23(2)).

As can be seen, Magna Park did not provide the documentary proof to the purchaser in accordance with Clause 24 HDA 1966. At such, no vacant possession could had taken place as per the letter from the developer. The purchaser is advised not to pay the monies requested. Any attempt to apply undue influence or to exert duress upon the purchaser will be construed as a breach of contract and an act of repudiation of contract. Section 74 of the contracts Act 1950 would then apply.

Whatever it is, the claim of $12,775.40 is wrongful and not in accordance with the terms and conditions of contract. The Vendor can only invoice the quit rent, insurance premium and maintenance charges beginning from the date of vacant possession. As the invoice had stated the charges for the period of 2004, that is, before the date of vacant possession, it is an attempt to mislead or misrepresent to the purchaser to induce him to pay for services beyond the terms of the contract. This can be implied that the developer may have misrepresented their claim and of which would cause innocent/ignorant purchaser to suffer losses beyond the terms of the agreement.It is unprofessional and unwise for the developer to act at such and would destroy their integrity.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Bank Negara Resource Centre Project

H&I Niaga Won Posted by Picasa

Questions looms loudly in the construction industry as most people are perplexed over the award of a RM320 million Bank Negara Resource Centre Project to a little unknown company who is currently facing problem of paying some levy owed to Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB). An investigation conducted by NST on this company also found that they had not submitted audited accounts for 3 consecutive years from 2002 to 2004. The Company had also failed to submit its profit and loss accounts to Companies Commission of Malaysia.

The award surprised major construction companies which had been bidding for the large project, like Maju Holdings Bhd, Ahmad Zaki Resources Bhd, PECD Bhd, Ranhill Bhd and UEM Builders Bhd.

Attempts to ascertain the company’s capabilities and track record have been hampered by a lack of current information.

H & I Niaga is owned by Amerudin Ismail (2mil shares) and Ismail Mohd Hashim (3mil shares).

H & I Niaga made headlines years back when their project involving the construction of the Royal Malaysian Navy Recruit Training Centre in Kota Tinggi Johor was reported to have been defective and the building was found to have so many cracks and leakages problem. JKR and the Ministry of Defence had investigated the shoddy works and massive rectification works were carried out respectively. Nothing was further reported on this project thereafter.

H&I Niaga was also the contractor for Cheras Velodrome Project and some projects awarded by UiTM.

Bank Negara said they had evaluated the selection process and the award was based primarily on competitive pricing. How is it that Bank Negara would select a contractor who are currently facing financial problem and could not even pay CIDB levy - that's amusing! The selection process must be tainted with cronyisma and nepotisma. How could an award fo such a large project not have taken into consideration the weak financial positions of a company when the size of the project is so mammoth? Surely, if a company had not submitted its profit and loss accounts for the last three years, something must be grossly wrong? Or, alternatively, NST investigation and report was defective and grossly wrong; I doubt.

We will have to hear some explanation from H&I Niaga and most of all, Governor Zeti of Bank Negara.

H&I Niaga Hangs Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 26, 2005

Kuching Airport Extension - Progress Photos

September 25, 2005

Kuching International Airport is undergoing extension works.

Shots taken unpon entering the terminal building. Note that the escalators had been sealed off and passengers checking-in at the first floor immigration check-point must walk up through the stairways.

Temporary Hoarding along the passageway where passengers will have to walk to the taxi stand. Note that they are full of holes and lack of maintenance culture.

View from the passageway where part of the hoarding was removed.

Shots taken from the taxi disembarkment stand

On arrival at the Kuching airport from the town, we took this shots

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Kuching Airport: Quality or Myth?

Global Upline Sdn Bhd, the turnkey contractor for the redevelopment of Kuching Airport (Extension) which is currently in progress has reported achievement of ZERO fatality for over two million man-hours. This was reported by their assistant project director Bobby Ting, the son of Tan Sri Ting Pek King, the superman of the construction industry.

The project contractor hoped that the key success areas were identified and strategies being planned. Its strategies would concentrate on three areas with special attention where all relevant parties would keep a watchful eye on one another with regards to safety. The three areas were any hazardous operations; any repetitive unsafe acts by workers; and any potentially hazardous conditions.

Bobby Ting said that its safety department would focus its safety campaign in these critical areas to ensure that the accident rate did not build up to a critical level.

The reported zero fatality of two million man-hours are applauding and an excellent record. The only question that arises is :

The project is only about one year and two months-old. On July 13, 2004 The Star reported of the project award by Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Douglas Uggah Embas and slated to be completed by 2007.

Assuming the project do not work during holidays such as Chinese New Year, Gawai, Hari Raya, Deepavali, Merdeka day, Labour day; perhaps, the working days would only be about 330 days. We have to consider too, that each year, there are about at least 30 raining days. Then, 300 working days are more realistic.

Therefore, based on the information, it would mean that the project would have employed more than 833 workers for the full 14-months duration. From my observation over the last one year, of which I had been visiting Kuching every month, I don't seem to see there are more than 300 workers at this stage; and in the initial few months, there are less than 200 workers.

At such, I just wonder how the two million man-hours have been tabulated.

Even if we based on the full 365 days per year working days, the mathematics would have required an average of 142,857 man-hours per month, or 4,761 man-hours per day. If we based on an 8-hour working day, then the project must be having 595 workers each and every day for 365 days in a year, and for the full 424 days (14-months). The project records cannot take into consideration any man-days before the official contract award-date as this would amount to illegalilty and illegal possession of site.

I would like to congratulate Global Upline on their super-fantastic records, but I would appreciate if I can be given the records to tally the figures as it looks to me more of a myth rather than reality.

Speaking about safety on the project, I happen to be at the airport last month and this month, and I saw a few site staff of Global Upline walking along the passageway; they do not wear safety boots. I asked them, and was told that they have yet to received the boots from the management. I was told that they had been working there for more than 2-3 months.

The news and promotion campaign for safety and health control is encouraging but it is hope that we are hearing and will also be seeing that it is "Cakap Serupa Bikin".

We appreciate Bobby Ting and Global Upline are man of words and deeds; not just a sandiwara.

Some pictures of the current work progess at the airport (September 2005)

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Naim Cendera - The New Sarawak Construction King

The construction industry has been contracting drastically over the last two years, and governments projects are running dry. Contractors can be forgiven for getting paranoid and may have to look into possible overseas action.

It is expected that the third quarter and fourth quarter economic results will fare no better than the second quarter of the year, and thus we should see far greater contraction.

In this weak economic environment, there stands out a company in Sarawak who has the ability to sustain their business, and are confidently projecting to generate 30% growth over the next three years.

The industry is ushering a new king of construction - Naim Cendera Sdn Bhd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Naim Cendera Holding Bhd (NAIM) - reported that they had been recently awarded three contracts by the Federal and State government of Sarawak for infrastructure and building projects worth RM507.5 million.

The projects awarded include the bridge over Batang Belingian (contract value of RM35 million), the new Sarawak State Assembly building (DUN) worth RM296 million, and the upgrading of the Julau-Sibu Road which is RM176.5 million.

Naim is expecting another award for the Pasukan Gerakan Am project at Batu Kawa in Kuching which is expected to be about RM313 million and has also received a Letter of Intent (LOI) for the proposed Bengoh Dam which is also worth hundreds of millions.
In addition, Naim also is developing a 100-acre mixed development project at Sungei Kuap in Kuching and has other property development projects in Miri, Kuching, etc.

Currently, Naim’s value of confirmed order book is more than RM1.252 billion which may be sufficient to sustain its business earnings for the next three to four years and this book order is expected to be enhanced in the next few months.

Naim’s chairman, Datuk Abdul Hamed Sepawi is confident that the group is capable to maintain a cumulative average growth rate of more than 30% over the next three years.

Naim is poised to be the next kingpin of the construction industry surpassing former greats such as Gamuda, MMC, Roadbuilders, Ho Hup, Suncon, MTD, Mitrajaya, Binapuri and IJM.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Robert Kuok Exits Pelangi

PERMODALAN Nasional Bhd (PNB) expects to complete its acquisition of Pelangi Bhd, a property developer, by next week. PNB president and chief executive officer Tan Sri Hamad Kama Piah said the company had sought a three-week extension for the mandatory general offer (MGO) from July 18.

"We have been given an extension until August 26 for the minority shareholders to accept the offer. We have to wait until then before we can conclude the MGO," he said.

"This was the third extension as some (minority shareholders) wanted time for them to decide (whether to accept the offer)," Hamad Kama Piah told newsmen.

Meanwhile, Bursa Malaysia Bhd said in a statement that it has delisted Pelangi, effective yesterday. Hamad Kama Piah explained that as PNB had acquired more than 90 per cent of Pelangi, Bursa Malaysia had to delist the company according to the listing requirements. Hamad Kama Piah also said an exco has been set up to chart Pelangi's future direction and programmes. "We have decided to let the Pelangi board members determine the direction they want to take and we will monitor their progress. We have appointed exco members to chart and oversee suitable programmes.“ Acquisitions of stakes in companies are very much in PNB's plans, he said, adding that PNB will buy and sell when the opportunity arises. "As a fund manager, we are strategically positioning ourselves in certain areas.“ On the current market sentiment, he said the trend is improving and he believed that the fundamentals are there.

On May 26, 2005, Business Times reported that PNB had made a mandatory takeover offer for the 50.74% stake it does not already own in property developwe Pelangi Bhd for RM 283.74 million. PNB offered to pay in cash for Pelangi’s 369.49 million shares at 77 sen per share. In its financial year ended March 31, 2005, Pelangi reported a net profit of RM32.17 million on the back of RM168 million in revenue.


Is PNB Buying into a sunset institution? Pelangi, is a household brand name in housing development, particularly in Johor Bahru, and is reknown for it's quality houses and strategic positionings, and locations. It is generally believed that Pelangi's houses has a 10% premium over market prices.

In fact Pelangi were the one of the pioneer property developer that offers largescale residential housing estates that are 8m wide (24ft width). Those houses, you can see them parking up to four cars within their fenced compound. Most Malaysian residential houses are 22ft or 20ft wide. In Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, you can even see houses of 18ft width. In fact, those buyers will feel claustrophobic.

With the exit of Robert Kuok, Pelangi announced the resignation of Frank Goon Swee Keong as the company’s MD and Datuk Musa Ayub Saad, Datuk Md Zahari Md Zin and Huang Yan Teo as directors.

The success story of Pelangi is synonym with Frank Goon. It was Frank's dream and vision that had brought Pelangi to what it is today, although the credit goes to Robert Kuok. Frank is a brunt and straight man, who is unassuming; he does not accept second best. He is the driver of the system and adopts a power culture. Frank is known to be one who will give stupendous reward to his people who are high performers.

Over the last few years, the property business in Johor Bahru is getting more competitive and less lucrative. Literally, Pelangi had ride on the good market time, a time where competition is not as stiff as of today. Johor Bahru is seeing a mushrooming of housing estates and the infiltration of myraid of "immigrant developers" coming from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Profit margins are coming down drastically, tho' still profitable. That seemed to be the objective reason for the readiness of Kuok to exit at a "ripe" time.

PNB will be acquiring an asset in the sunset period. It will pose a great challenge to the acquirer to emulate the previous success story of Frank Goon and his acolyte. Good luck to PNB; and it surely will be better luck to Frank Goon and Kuok Group.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Samy Toll Pre-emptive Strikes

Samy Toll Posted by Picasa


Samy: Be prepared for rise in toll charges

Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said the Government had to stop the payout as it could no longer burden itself with increasing costs. “After taking many things into consideration, the Government wants to put a stop to this practice,” he said. As such, he said, the people should be prepared for an increase in toll charges.

Samy Vellu said the Government had to pay out hundreds of millions of ringgit in compensation to the concessionaires when they asked for an increase in toll charges, as provided for in their agreements. “Based on the concessionaire agreements, a toll increase cannot be avoided when the time comes,” he added.

FIRST, he agreed to terms that was North-bound; such one-sided lucrative contracts that would create instant billionaires of which investment bankers would be willing to be bed-partners to fund these projects.

NOW, we are suffocated by the toll-haze; and the directorate is coquetting empathy.

This is the best Ventriloquism you can ever watch!!!! Let dance to the tune .....

Sunday, July 17, 2005

No LRT for Kuching until the Traffic Jam justifies

Sunday Tribune, Sarawak

July 17, 2005.

Sarawak State CVLB Chairman Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said it is not a feasible idea to set up a LRT system (Light Rail Transit) for Kuching, Sarawak as it has yet to have high population and massive traffic congestion to justify the introduction of LRT.

So, does it mean that Sarawak will only consider to have LRT after seeing massive traffic congestions?

Why is it that our system of government always choose to be reactive?

Must we face a crisis before any form of planning or actions will be taken to resolve it? When will we learn to plan ahead?

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Another Kelantan Bridge is Falling Down, Falling Down

Bridge of Death Claims another life

For umpteen years, residents of Pengkalan Pasir Village, 6km from Kota Baru, Kelantan had been appealing to the authorities for the repair of this bridge. On February 14, 2005, this bridge claimed its second victim. 5-year-old Noralili Mohd Yusof fell into the canal through a gap between the rotten planks. Last year alone, one villager was killed and two others broke their arms and legs. Perhaps, now the authorities may act.

When Norlili Mohd Yusof drowned after falling through a wooden bridge in February, the authorities swore such an accident would not happen again.

But four months after the five-year-old’s death at Kampung Kok Pasir, a similar accident has claimed another life.

Last Monday, Khatijah Rahmatullah, 65, died after part of a wooden bridge in Kampung Dendang, Ketereh gave way on Monday. The widow’s body was found floating in the canal at 2.30pm yesterday. Khatijah’s son, Mohd Kamal Mohamad, said his mother was returning to a relative’s house after visiting him when the incident occurred at about 8.30pm.

"She comes to my house every night to see my children and then spends the night at a relative’s place," he said.

The incident has once again highlighted the problem of old and rickety wooden bridges over irrigation canals in the State. But an added complication has emerged in the wake of Monday’s incident.

It appears that some bridges were maintained by the State Drainage and Irrigation Department and others by the Kemubu Agricultural Development Authority (Kada).

State Public Works Department director Lim Chow Hock said efforts were being made to repair all bridges maintained by the department. He said while the bridge at Kampung Kok Pasir had been repaired, that at Kampung Dendang came under Kada’s jurisdiction.

When our Prime Minister was addressing the recent civil servants at Kuantan recently, he mention that Malaysia had first class infrastructure and third class mentality. It seem only a half-truth; for we have good infrastructure in the cities but not the kampung; and we have fourth world mentality ........

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Towering problem for Marina

June 26, 2005, The Star

"EVERYTHING is for sale, including me!" Hajjah Marina Yusoff said half-jokingly when SC Cheah, The Star reporter approached her at the darkened lobby of Menara Marina recently.

Time is running out for Marina Yusoff, the former magistrate, lawyer, politician & an astute entrepreneur (Wanita UMNO leader, and later Semangat 46 leader). She has until the end of this month to pay Danaharta Urus Sdn Bhd the redemption sum of RM122.77 million in cash. Failing to do so, Danaharta may commence action to recover the debt, and she may lose ownership of Menara Marinara, the 36-storey mixed commercial building in Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur, which Marina believed to be worth approx RM350.

Over the last 10 years, the project has always been in complex and onerous situation. The project started sometime in 1994, which happen to be almost at the same time the neighbouring project, Wisma Semarak of Telekom started calling for tender for the piling works. If I remembered correctly, Wisma Semarak started the piling works in 1996 and the main building works commenced on 1997, and completed in year 2000.

Both these two projects seemed to faced a lot of difficulties during the construction period - Bad Fungshui or whatever you believe it to be. To add to the difficulties, the economic crisis in 1997-1998 affected the main contractors financial cash flow and disrupted the work progress(both the main contractors are Public-Listed companies - CP Bhd for Marinara and Mancon Bhd for Wisma Semarak).

While Wisma Semarak was finally completed in year 2000, Marinara Tower was still struggling. The project stalled when Pekeliling Triangle Sdn Bhd, the developer and the flagship company of Marina, decided to terminate the main contractor's contract. CP Bhd, the main contractor brought legal actions against Pekeliling Triangle Sdn Bhd.[Period].

Whatever it is, the project did not have a good start, and Marina's hope is that the bad patch will end soon, and that she can recover her investment. Will she? It's going to be extremely tough.

Best of luck, Marina!!!!

Friday, June 17, 2005

SuperKids crossing Bridge in Nabawan, Sabah

NST, June 15, 2005.

The picture shows the school children who had to daily cling on to their dear life as they negotiate their way across this dilapidated suspension bridges in Nabawan, Sabah.

For many urban children, a trip to school means boarding a car or a bus and being dropped off outside the school gates. But for youngsters at a remote village in Sabah’s interior Nabawan district, the daily trip to school and back is a gamble with their lives. The 60 children of Kampung Labang, some 250km from Kota Kinabalu, have to cross the 80m-wide Sungai Sapulut on a rickety suspension bridge that is nothing more than a few cables strung across the waterway to go to SK Labang. With their shoes inside their school bags, the children aged 7 to 12, walk barefooted on the lower cable with hands grasping the upper cable.

Nabawan district officer Raymond Basir said yesterday that repair work on the bridge would be carried out as soon as possible. But how soon? Before someone gets killed, or what?

$60,000 for Diplapidated Bridge in Sabah

$60,000 allocated to repair the dilapidated bridge

RM51.5 million for landscaping in Kuala Kangsar, Perak and only $60,000 is needed to repair the dilapidated bridge in Nabawan, Sabah. And it took many months, sometimes years to get the approval for such disbursement.

I hope the Sabah State government will not siphon this allocated to pay for a landscape project in Kota Kinabalu Municipality.

In a similar case in February, there, someone had to die to get the authority to start looking at the bridge.

Pengkalan Pasir Village

For umpteen years, residents of Pengkalan Pasir Village, 6km from Kota Baru, Kelantan had been appealing to the authorities for the repair of this bridge. On February 14, 2005, this bridge claimed its second victim. 5-year-old Noralili Mohd Yusof fell into the canal through a gap between the rotten planks. Last year alone, one villager was killed and two others broke their arms and legs. Only after someone had died will the authority begin to act.

I weep for Malaysia! And, how long will it take the bridge to be completed?

Even to Plant Flowers, We Need Consultants?

RM51.5 million for landscaping and RM1.5 million for poverty eradication.

This is what the Kuala Kangsar Municipal Council requested under the Ninth Malaysia Plan.

MP of Kuala Kangsar, Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz was baffled at the request. "Tourism is tourism, but we have to take care of the people, too," she said, criticising the "topsy-turvy" budget and urging the council to review it.

Rafidah, who is also International Trade and Industry Minister, was puzzled why the council allocated RM11.2 million to landscape its Sayong river front, RM8 million to set up a pocket park, RM3.6 million to upgrade housing areas and RM1.8 million for "greening" the roads.

"Tourists won’t come into housing areas to see the flowers. They have better flowers back home," Rafidah said.

She said that the council should focus on basic amenities, schools, infrastructure and socio-economic activities. Rafidah noted that many budgets appeared skewed towards landscaping projects and intended to raise this matter at the next Cabinet meeting.

During a meeting with Chinese community leaders today, she was told that the National Landscape Department paid RM300,000 in consultancy fees to a company owned by a university lecturer to propose landscaping ideas for Kuala Kangsar.

"Even to plant flowers, we need consultants?"

She noted that the allocations requested for landscaping and beautification projects made up almost half the RM118 million requested by the council under the Ninth Malaysia Plan. She suggested that gotong-royong activities be held to beautify the town, stressing there was no need for landscaping consultants.

The council requested only RM7 million for schools, RM7.6 million for socio-economic purposes, RM13.5 million for city services and RM32 million for infrastructure development.


Cheerio Rafidah! You are the first MP to admonish the pedantic dim-wit of municipal council. What about other municipal councils? Previously, there was also a report of the same farcical scenario at Sebarang Perai Municipal but the MP didn't make any sound and the State Local Government Committee Chairman Datuk Dr. Teng Hock Nan backed the council's decision.

The Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP) had then awarded contract worth $1.5 million or about $5,700 a week to contractor to supply and plant flowers at the entrance of the council’s headquarter. Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan defended the council’s decision saying that the 100 dozen a week of flowers are needed to brighten up the council office.

Hiring a landscape consultant may be necessary for certain circumstances, such as the project at KLCC-Twin Tower in KL, and in housing projects, where there is a need to get professional advice to ensure the landscape projects the values of the community lifestyle and the theme of the park.

But, for Municipality, they can get these advice for free if they call for request for proposal from the various well-established landscaping contractors. Contractors do have their own landscaping experts and are able to submit their proposal based on the need statement of the council.

So, why do we have to pay $300,000 to a lecturer for the consultancy fees? Well, please don't fault the lecturer! He was approach with this opportunity and he make good of that opportunity. The Council should know what they need. According to the lecturer, $300,000 is cheap as it equates to only ONE AP for the import of a luxurious car.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

DRB Rail Project Land in Arbitration Court


DRB-HICOM Bhd chairman Tan Sri Dr Saleh Sulong said both the Government and the company have mutually agreed to appoint an independent claim consultant (ICC) to resolve the dispute on the variation order of the double-tracking project between Rawang and Ipoh. The variation order refers to the work ordered by the Government that is not included in the original contract, which reportedly is worth RM700mil.

The ICC or arbitrator will be appointed “which will be acceptable by both parties to address the issue of the variation order,” he told reporters.

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