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.

For more info on contract & dispute management, go to:

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Let Us Build The Crooked Bridge

CROOKED BRIDGE Posted by Hello

Johor has made a strong pitch to the Federal Government to go ahead and build the "crooked bridge" to replace the Causeway. State officials said that any further delay in the construction of the project would seriously retard growth in Johor Baru. This message was given to PM Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi during a briefing yesterday.

The Johor government believed that the proposed bridge was an integral part of the re-development of the city centre, and that it was crucial that a decision on the project be made soonest possible.

"Everything hinges on whether the bridge will materialise or not," said a senior state official. "We cannot wait forever for Singapore to join hands to build a straight bridge."

Singapore has not indicated if it is in favour of a straight bridge to replace the whole Causeway, despite two rounds of talks between Abdullah and Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong. This uncertainty is of concern to Johor state officials, who feel the Federal Government should go ahead and build a half-bridge.

MAYBE, A CROOKED BRIDGE IS A GOOD REPRESENTATION OF OUR SYSTEM. That bridge may serve as a mirror for us, to remind us always of our cultured artistic impression!!!!