Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Construction Contract Act - Another Fallacious Control mechanism

The Works Ministry is proposing to the Parliament to enact the Construction Contracts Act aimed at regulating the country's construction industry. The Act is targeted to ensure that those that have undertaken Government contracts do not put their private interests ahead of the nation (presumably). Samy Vellu, the minister, said he expects to deal with the matter speedily to enable the Bill to be tabled in Parliament soon.

The Act is expected to play a crucial role in laying down the basic principles of the construction contracts and is expected to address the all important issues of payment.

Apparently, this initiative originated from the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB), mooted at a move towards zero-payment default through the statutory provisions. CIDB is expected to convene a separate forum to further discuss issues related to the Construction Industry Payment and Adjudication Act.

The initiative is full of idealism and you can observed that it lack pragmatism.

Why is it so? Well, if the government is determine to ensure prompt and efficient payment system, they can do so without the need of statutory control. It is all about administrative control and system integration of the works ministry, relevant project-sponsors and financial authorities (EPU and Treasury).

If the government is looking into ways to control and monitor the private sectors payment system, then the Act will be fallacious and absurd. Private sector payment system is mulled with complexities as the payment system is inter-twained with the financial resource availability and viability, lender's support system and behaviors, investment and economic policies and barriers, and are equally subjected to market supply and demand situations and the forces that drives the economy.

On the contention by Samy Vellu and CIDB that this Act will ensure that those contractors undertaking government contracts do not put their private interests ahead of the nation, I just cannot see how the Act could provide such mechanism of control. It sounds like a chimera in the brain of the proposers. I wonder they understand what is a chimera!

The first absurdity of the proposal is that it is mooted by an institution which has over the decades failed to serve it's primary objective and mission. CIDB is by virtue, an institution that is supposed to built the system to promote and inculcate competency and capability of the contractors such that they will become competent and be able to compete and benchmark themselves with the international competitors.

What's the similarity between CIDB and Socso?

Both institution are being run using public and corporate contributions and their efficiency are second to none - none accountability, none transparency, none of them are responsible as when things go wrong, they always have someone to blame except themselves.

Both have history of abuses and incompetencies.

Over the decades, CIDB had collected billions of dollar in contributions from the contractors and so far, the records showed that their only achievement is to negotiate projects in India that had benefitted a few Class A contractors. Other than this, they had conducted several seminars and workshops for the contractors but of which these contributing contractors will still required to pay to attend those seminars.

Yet today, we are hearing of another set of initiatives that presumably is mooted to provide construction system efficiency and improvement. Would this initiative work and achieve the objectives it has set out to do? I am suffering from paranoia. If the institution had failed in its original setup, could anyone feel confident that it had the capability to turnaround others?

The key words to describe it - fallacy, preposterous, farcical, glibness, frivolous, hogwash, ignoramus, imbecile, inane, inept, klutz, ludicrous, vaxatious, pedantic and most of all, they are schleps.

Saturday, September 3, 2005

New Retirement Age - Is it good news?

850,000 civil servants may have to serve an extra 3-years if the proposal is approved by the Cabinet next month.

This move was made in order to reduce the burgeoning pension bills as the government mulls over the financial implications of a pension bill that has tripled over the last decade. The pension bill had cost the government RM4.96 billion last year, a RM3.36 billion increase over the allocation in 1994. The number of pensioners are now 513,689.

Is this a good news for civil servant? Each one has to mull over it.

For me? My God, Alhamdullilah! Why? But I am not a civil servant? Oh, it doesn't matter. It was my aspiration. It was my hope. I had always been exploring into the civil service system, musing over their level of competencies, and inparticular, the recent change of hands in JKR. There was one man who, by the grace of God, was allowed to helm this giant institution after a long "waiting" and "shadow-politiking" by the oligarch. Finally, in July, the man did arrive; he is none other than, the most highly respected, but often scorned (by politicians and his past head-master) Professor Datuk Dr. Wahid bin Omar who was made the new Director-general of PWD.

Read my earlier posting (August 5, 2005).

I have been praying to the Almighty that something must happen; this new D-G is 54, and will retire in slightly more than one year time. He will not have sufficient time in this position to make the necessary changes, and have it effectively implemented, because the system will take ake him away via the compulsory retirement at 55. One year is far too short to get change effectively implemented. It will not be possible unless his term is extended. But there is no way to extend because we had a bureaucratic system.
My prayer - "May the hands of Allah and His blessings be showered on our new leader of change."

To my delight, the first thing that caught my eyes this morning is the frontpage news in NST - RETIRE AT 58! Now it is going to happen; Alhamdullilah, praise be to God!

I would like to repeat what I had already said in my earlier article:

"This man will USHER in a NEW ERA, an era of RADICAL CHANGE for the better; a change badly needed; the change that should wake up the sleeping gaint of construction industry and cause the industry to tremble. It may be a lesser range tsunami!

Many will celebrate, but some may despair, for this man will not accept mediocrity and officers with desultory character. Those flippant and insouciant, and those with purile mindset, they now have a wake-up call - this man will trumatise you!!!!

The system needs a radical change and only a visionary leader can lead this change. There is none who I believe can do better, and have such behemoth passion in his work. This man is damn honest and straight; that's the reason many had dislike him; sorry not dislike him, but dislike his courage and persistence. He has little patience for lack of competency; he loath cronyism and he doesn't know how to carry balls of the political masters. That's the reason why he can only afford to own a terrace house for the last 30 years or so. He will remain poor till he retires; tho' not poverty per se.

But I believe, he is a man satisfied and contented for what he has and what he has acieved. May God shower him with his wisdom and love, and most of all GOOD HEALTH. May the nation benefit from the service of this man's contribution and that in the next few years, we shall see a dynamic, competent and effective administration of government projects, whereby this one and only institution of construction, this JKR, will lead the nation and pave the way to achieve tangibly, the vision 2020, bringing in the structures and framework of an effective and efficient system administration, fully manned by a new breed of highly competent engineers and scientists, and setting the benchmark for all the other institutions to follow.

Hopefully, a much needed (to be) revamped CIDB will strive to emulate the feat of JKR, if not, at least perish; what we called "Die a Natural Death" so as to relieve all the contractors of the burden to contribute to the cost of the disease administration, and the contributions thus far, are sufficient to pay for the cost of an expensive coffins.

Lets observe and do some measurement; let's greet the arrival of the performance measurement system - now you can measure and track, and we can now use the six-sigma!!!!