Thursday, November 15, 2007

MORE PICS – RM4.5M “Malays Bolih” Collapsed – Unoccupied Perak State Parks Corp Building into Tasik Banding; – Deficient Design & Construction

UPDATE: 19th Nov 2007

November 19, 2007 16:10 PM

Don't Point Fingers At Each Other, Says Tajol Rosli

IPOH, Nov 19 (Bernama) -- Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Tajol Rosli Ghazali has urged the government agencies concerned not to blame each other over the collapse of the Perak State Parks Corporation (PTNP) building in Pulau Banding, Gerik, on Nov 13. He urged the officers not to speculate and be patient as a professional panel would be set up to investigate all aspects of the collapse of the RM4.5 million building.
"I don't want government officers to start pointing fingers at each other. Let the investigation proceed. Everyone was happy during the planning stage but when the building collapsed, everyone said it was not their fault. This is where the panel will have to decide. If the collapse was found to be due to irregularities, the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) would be brought in, he said at the Perak civil servants monthly gathering here today.

Members of the panel would be appointed after the Public Works Department (JKR) had briefed and advised the state government on what needed to be done, he said. Commenting on a newspaper report that the Freshwater Fish Centre (PPD) Complex at Tasik Banding might collapse, Tajol Rosli said the authorities had been asked to take remedial action. "Don't wait until the situation gets worse. To remedy now may cost a few hundred thousand ringgit but if you wait, the whole building will go. We must act quickly."

He, however, gave an assurance that the PPD building is still safe. Earlier, Perak Drainage and Irrigation Department director Abdul Razak Dahalan said the PPD building was not affected and that there were no cracks. The PPD Complex which began operation last year is a breeding centre for freshwater fish like the kelah, temoleh and lampam.

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Saturday November 17, 2007; MYT 7:27:08 PM

Fishery centre at Tasik Temengor at risk

IPOH: The Banding Landing Fishery Centre, located just opposite the RM4.5mil Perak State Park Corporation administrative building in Tasik Temengor that crumbled, may also be in danger of collapsing. Revealing this, Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Tajol Rosli Ghazali said the land on which the RM6mil fishery centre is built was also giving way. "I have instructed the Fisheries Department to take immediate action. "After seeing what had happened (to the corporation building), I told the department to use some of its allocations to strengthen the ground so that it would not give way. "If it does give way, the entire building will collapse," he said on Saturday after handing out offer letters to relocate 471 squatters from Ulu Kinta.

Tajol Rosli also clarified that the fishery centre was built on cut land while the collapsed building had been built on filled land, adding that cut land was generally more stable than filled land. Speaking to reporters after attending a Kemas convocation ceremony at Sungai Siput yesterday, Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said he would instruct state Public Works Department director Datuk Wong Wai Ching to include the fishery centre in the investigation. On Tuesday, the corporation building located at the edge of Tasik Temengor came down like a house of cards. It was to be the first of a two-phase project comprising 14 rooms, an office block, a showroom and a car park.

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GRIK: Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohd Tajol Rosli Ghazali said the State Park Corporation complex that collapsed on Tuesday had been problematic from the start.

He described the complex as a project that had never been viable. "How can you spend RM4.5 million for a complex that has only 14 rooms? "I am really frustrated (with the whole project). As an accountant, I knew that it would be a problem to manage due to the limited number of rooms. You need at least 50 rooms for such a place to be economically viable." He said there were developers in Ipoh who could build a complex or resort with 100 rooms on a budget of only RM8 million. He cited poor interior design as one of the problems of the complex, which was to be a one-stop centre for tourists. "It was too late for me to stop the project as it was already being constructed then (when he became MB)," he said yesterday after visiting the site where the facility used to stand at Pulau Banding, some 50km from here. It was completed last year.

The complex was the first phase of a project funded by the Tourism Ministry which was to comprise an administrative office, a cafeteria, 14 rooms and an open car park. Two months ago, numerous cracks were detected on the structure and pillars of the complex, which was "leaning". Initially, part of the complex collapsed last Saturday, and this is believed to have further weakened its foundation. Meanwhile, state Drainage and Irrigation Department director Abdul Razak Dahlan said the department would carry out a study on the water level of the Temenggor lake. "There have been two or three cases of landslides and soil erosion in areas surrounding the lake and we want to see whether these were caused by the lake's water level," he explained.

= = === == = =Original Post below

ABOVE: The sign posting to State Park and BELOW: the scenic :Lake Banding, Grik, Perak
Malaysiakini would not have the resources to cover this "out of state" calamity for its readers. The immediate interest is the guessing game for the date of the GE and the story is

EC chief: I know poll date, but I ain't telling

and the latest On Musa Hitam launches 'The Unmaking of Malaysia'
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ABOVE: The completed but unsafe building & BELOW: The final shame after collapse

The collapse of the unoccupied but 2004 completed building waiting to collapse. It was left vacant and idle because it was not given a certificate of worthiness as it was not built “according to specifications” and was too dangerous to occupy. Initial PWD findings indicate it was deficient in “design & construction”. This case is not unsimilar to MMR2 fiasco except that it was beyond repairs. Another good example of “Malays bolih” concept that failed for greed & incompetence?. Awarded the tender free turnkey project worth RM5M, funded by Government through Tourism Ministry, with Malay Consultant & Contractor under one roof - they would want to make RM2million out of the RM5 million contract. So what is left for the sub-cons are perhaps bare minimum. Why was Samy Vellu in a state of shock even though this building was not under his purview? Would he now say obviously, it was “not built by God” and humans are involved and they are not perfect as he said about some MMR2 problems?

ABOVE: An aerial view of the collapsed building rubble and BELOW: the 2nd phase of the project; just look at the tiny structures designed

Isn’t this another example of shoddy work of sub-cons to make some money from the low sub-contract price? Not to specifications can mean so many things - short piling to required depth and insufficient foundation size? Incorrect cement mix - more sand and concrete with insufficient cement? Poor design can have many connotations – reduced cross section sizes to save material & thus the cost. Insufficient design could be lack of geo-technical studies of the hill slopes and soil conditions. It would be another investigation and a waste of taxpayers’ money of was it justified “tourists’ money” and the usual excuses. Why was there no monitoring of this project right from the start? Another one-eye closed?

And now there is this familiar Samy Velu’s reference excuseUnusual climatic changes –global warming” as now used by the Temenggor State assemblyman who viewed the collapse as “natural calamity.
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November 14, 2007 14:10 PM

PWD To Probe Building Collapse At Tasik Banding

ABOVE & BELOW: More closed up views of the concrete rubble for all to see

IPOH, Nov 14 (Bernama) -- The Perak Public Works Department (PWD) has started a probe into the collapse of a nearly completed two-storey building built on a hill slope at Tasik Banding in Gerik, Perak, on Tuesday.
The investigation team is led by its director, Datuk Wong Wai Ching. When contacted, he said the probe would cover various aspects, including a landslide which had apparently occurred behind the building belonging to the Perak State Parks Corporation. It was reported that the structure began to collapse at
8am Tuesday before it was completely destroyed two hours later.

ABOVE: More concrete rubble and BELOW: It went right to the edge of the water in the lake

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Thursday November 15, 2007
Samy shocked, wants answers

KUALA LUMPUR: The collapse of a two-storey building on a hillslope at the edge of Tasik Banding in Gerik, Perak, has Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu reeling with disbelief. “I am shocked and I want answers,” said a furious Samy Vellu, who called for action to be taken against the contractor if it was found that structural failure caused the collapse. It was fortunate that no one was hurt “but there must be some action,” he said. On Tuesday, the building began to collapse at 8am and crumbled completely two hours later. Only rubble: All that’s left of the Perak State Park Corporation’s two-storey administrative building near Tasik Banding ( see inset) after it collapsed on Tuesday.

It was completed in 2004 but had yet to be occupied. The collapsed structure – the first of a two-phase project under the Perak State Park Corporation – consisted of 14 rooms, an office block, a showroom to sell orang asli goods, and a car park. Completed in 2004, it was built at a cost of RM4.5mil with an allocation from the Tourism Ministry. The second phase consists of 26 more rooms at the same site; the project costing RM5mil is also funded by the Tourism Ministry. Samy Vellu said the project was not under Public Works Department (PWD) supervision, but since PWD is the technical arm of the Government, he has ordered the Perak PWD to conduct an investigation. Perak PWD director Datuk Wong Wai Ching, who is leading the investigation team, said the probe would cover various aspects, including a landslide, which apparently occurred behind the collapsed building. “I have directed Wong to submit the report to me so that I can brief the Cabinet and the Perak Government,” said Samy Vellu.

Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Tajol Rosli (ABOVE) Ghazali said the Perak State Park Corporation informed the state government about two to three weeks ago that the building was unstable, after which the PWD was called in. The problem happened over time.

BELOW: The muddy running water can be seen running through the debris

The corporation and PWD had tried to stabilise the soil to prevent the building from collapsing. It began to tilt two to three weeks ago,” he said. Declining to reveal the name of the consultant and contractor, Tajol Rosli said the PWD’s initial findings pointed to a deficiency in design and construction. On the authority that was supposed to monitor the project, Tajol Rosli said: “We will study the details of the contract and see who should be monitoring the project.” Tajol Rosli said the state government would appoint a professional body to determine the cause of the collapse. Perak Anti-Corruption Agency director Samsiah Abu Bakar said the ACA would also investigate the matter.
The collapsed building was to provide facilities for researchers going into the
Royal Belum State Park for studies as well as for tourists on transit to visit the natural beauty of the park. Established in 2000, the 117,500ha Royal Belum State Park contains the oldest tropical rainforest in the peninsula. It is also home to at least 14 globally-threatened wildlife species, including the blue-striped beetle, the clouded leopard, the forest gecko, the Malayan tiger, the Asiatic elephant, the Malayan tapir, the white-handed gibbon and the Sumatran rhinoceros.

= = ==wirtness account
Thursday November 15, 2007

Boat operator among the first to notice signs of troubleGERIK: On Saturday when boat operator Khairul Izwan (ABOVE) Dahalan was ferrying a group of visitors to their destination, he noticed that the observation tower near the two-storey building on a hill slope at the edge of Tasik Banding had collapsed. “I thought some work was in progress so I did not give it much thought,” he said. Two days before that, the 22-year-old boatman also noticed cracks in the slope fronting the building. On Tuesday, when the building came down at 10am, he was having tea at the public jetty about 1km away. Khairul: Saw cracks in the slope fronting the building several days before the collapse of the building. saw a huge plume of dust rising from the spot, and heard a loud noise,” he said yesterday.

He and his friends checked out the source and found that the two-storey building had crumbled. Temenggor state assemblyman Datuk Hasbullah Osman, who visited the site yesterday, was barred from entering the area by three orang asli on guard duty. He told pressmen that the building was completed in 2004, and “I thank God that the place has yet to be occupied.” Viewing the incident as a natural calamity, he said: “Climatic changes brought about by global warming is also being experienced here.”

= == = === = Hazy day in S'pore

ABOVE:The skies over Toa Payoh were shrouded with haze

Nov 15, 2007

PSI reading hits 83 but NEA says not to worry

HAZY skies returned to Singapore on Thursday, said the National Environment Agency (NEA). The Pollutants Standards Index (PSI) reading at 4pm was 83, in the moderate range. The cause - 'poor dispersion of air pollutants in the air as a result of light wind conditions' during the current monsoon period. The NEA said the air should clear when wind conditions improve. It's not uncommon, it added, to experience reduced visibility from time to time during the monsoon season.
No special precautions are needed, said NEA, but it advises people with respiratory ailments who feel unwell to consult their doctors before undertaking vigorous exercise

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