Friday, June 17, 2005

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.

No comments: