Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Samy wants Blow-job on Contractors

Samy Vellu is frustrated with the increasing number of abandoned projects and shoddy work by contractors, and he has decided to put people power into service.

The public will be invited to become the eyes and ears of the Works Ministry to prevent hanky-panky and reduce costs arising from the need to revive abandoned projects and repair slipshod work.

Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said this would be part of a code of ethics and a performance-appraisal system for contractors likely to be implemented next year.

He said it was aimed at preventing abuse of government projects.

The public could contact the Construction Industry Development Board Malaysia (CIDB) if they felt things were amiss with any government construction project.

Contractors will also have to sit for integrity courses design and conducted by CIDB.

"These are drastic measures. Once implemented, the code of ethics and appraisal system will have to be adhered to by contractors and CIDB will be the monitoring them.

Can we trust CIDB?

So far, since the inception, CIDB had done nothing tangible to help the contractors who had paid billions of dollars of contributions to them.

What they had done is to collect the 0.25% taxes from the contractors, organise some seminars for contractors of which the contractors who attended had to pay for it again, register workers and label them which cost the contractor another $360 per worker (tho' CIDB said they only charge $150 per pax, but I asked all the contractors, they said there is associated type of fees to be paid to runners).

Tan Sri Wan Rahman, since retiring from JKR as the D-G, and appointed as chairman of CIDB for more than a decade, he should have retired and exited and not cause us more pain and cost. The new CEO, Datuk Hamzah, he seems to be doing something ... but not visible till today. There is a lot of talk, no action (NATO). I observed, that he may be surrounded by what Zam called: Crony system propagators who had no certified credentials to prove but are good talkers and commercialmen. These talkers had done some jobs for CIDB, like (cut-and-paste) research papers on project management, which was dump into the dustbin and of which had cost CIDB some $150,000. There were some seminars orgainised by CIDB on the use of Microsoft Project Scheduling, and Bar Charts (Gantt Charts) were produced without the Critical Path Network (CPM).

Is Hamzah facing problem with his chairman or others, or being crowded with false prophets of project management? Only he can answer.

But CIDB till today, has nobody within, who can claim they had the project management knowledge competency ... CIDB had lobbied to the govt and was thus mandated to certify project managers but they themselves are not even certified by international project management bodies. Would they be brave enough to get themselves certified by PMI, AIPM, APM, or any reputable project management institutions worldwide?

Could CIDB make themselves relevant?

Datuk Hamzah, can you do it?

or do we wait for the next generation of Mat Rempit to do it?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

JKR Sarawak to be Revamped

16th August 2006, Eastern Times

Chief Minister, Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud said three state government departments including JKR (PWD) will be revamped soon for greater efficiency and accountability.

According to the chief minister, previously every piece of government work was done by JKR and the work done was according to specifications and the estimated cost. But with more of the projects given out to the private sector, JKR supervision becomes superficial and it is crucial that the government’s interest is protected through contract management.

Taib stressed that the government must have an effective machinery to protect its interest while ensuring all the proposed development projects were well planned and evaluated in terms of costs.

Taib suggested that JKR have its own team of legal officers who were experienced enough to access and ensure work supervision and specification were rigidly adhered to. He said the interest of the government must be protected. He added that fewer junior engineers would be required after JKR was revamped. Instead more experienced senior engineers would be needed for certain specific works.

Engineers in JKR must be able to understand contractual terms and conditions and the risks involved such as loss and expense claims, Extension of Time (EOT) evaluation and the consequences of failure to grant a fair and reasonable EOT. Apart from this, engineers must also understand their fiduciary duries and implications of certification of payment, Liquidated Ascertained Damages (How and when to issue Certificate of Non-Completion and what condition precedent before deduction of LAD), How and when to issue Certificate of Practical Completion, Defects Liability Management and when to issuance of CMGD ( and consequences of failure to issue defect list within the period stipulated), Legal implications relating to Final Accounts, disputes and valuations of Variation Orders (differences between lump sum contract, Unit-rates contract and Design-built contracts), Remeasurements, Lump Sum Contract applications and legal aspects relating to variation omissions, duties and responsibilities of engineers and consulting engineers, how and when to issue engineers' instruction and the implications arising thereof, in particular, loss and expense claims, delay in possession of site and damage claims, acts of prevention to completion, breach of contract and breach of reciprocal promise, the application of Contracts Act 1950 and the Common Law of UK, Standard Forms of Contract, exclusion clauses, etc.

Do they already know? Do general legal advisors know? Will they be able to advice competently? There's a saying: Lawyers are those who pass the law exam; not necessarily adequately competent in the knowledge of construction contracts and dispute management.

What about JKR Semenanjung, Malaysia???

Will the tide comes? En Adib, what do you think?

P/S Thanks James!

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

MRR2 Re-Open to Light Traffic

MRR2 reopens to light traffic

Light vehicles can now use the Kepong stretch of the Middle Ring Road II (MRR2), closed in March for repairs to structural defects.

Two lanes opened on both sides at 2pm yesterday but the third – the fast lane – would remain close for structural reinforcement works.

Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, who visited the site yesterday, said these lanes, however, would be closed every weekend from 10pm on Saturday to 6am on Sunday.

He said the Public Works Department was also repairing a stretch on the MRR2 between the bus stop near the Manjalara junction and the access road to the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia near Taman Indah Perdana.

Samy Vellu said repair works on the MRR2 was 70% complete and “progressing smoothly without any delay.”

“Preliminary pier crosshead reinforcement work on all the pillars has been completed. This is to allow light vehicles (below 2.1m in height) to ply the MRR2,” he said.

“Further structural reinforcement work is being done on all pier crossheads and is expected to be completed by the end of November.”

Samy Vellu assured motorists that the MRR2 was now safe and “above the international standard safety benchmark.”

On the RM52.85mil interchange linking the new Sungai Buloh Hospital to the North-South Expressway, he said he expected it to be opened to traffic from Aug 14.

Samy Vellu also said repairs to the Sierra Mas bridge in Sungai Buloh, damaged by floods recently, were set to be completed by the end of this month, and the bridge would be opened on Sept 1.

He also said the Government has approved RM110mil for the repair and upgrading of more than 300 bridges nationwide.

“Some bridges need major repairs while some minor ones.”

NST Report: MRR2 reopens and it's 'safer than ever'

Samy Vellu said the cost of repairs was still being calculated although earlier estimates had pegged it at RM40 million. Contractor Bumihighway, which built the initial stretch, is paying for the repairs.

Structural reinforcement is being done on all pier crossheads and is expected to be completed by the end of November.

The MRR2 was closed for the first time for three months from Aug 8, 2004, and reopened in November last year.

The decision to close the stretch for a second time came after cracks were discovered and a study by independent consultant, Halcrow Group Limited of Britain, found cracks on 31 of the 33 pillars of the flyover.

The company said a design flaw and improper anchorage of the crossbeams on the concrete columns were to blame.

Repairs to the 1.7km stretch included water-proofing and installing metal braces as recommended by Halcrow.