Friday, February 09, 2007

MORE PICS – 3P & PEMUDAH for Increasing EFFICIENCY & EFFECTIVENESS of Government Delivery System (GDS)?; Hishammuddin: ..”It is hard to FIRE someone…"

= = = = = = ==UPDATE: 20th Feb 2007
RIDICULOUS MAMPU Deadline (Feb 20 07) For ideas to Improve the Delivery System; Effective Way - Ensue the Office Working and Opening Hours are Strictly Adhered

Ridiculous MAMPU Deadline (Feb 20 07) For ideas to Improve the Delivery System. The announcement came out on the 13th Feb and with the CNY holidays; barely there is time for anyone to put forth some concrete ideas. They should have no deadline to continuously receive ideas. And Bakri Musa have some concrete suggestions.
One of the effective ways to improve the delivery systems is to ensue the office working and opening hours are strictly adhered to and not allowed the local warlords or little Napoleons to impose their own= = == =

Have you ideas to improve the delivery system?; NST;13 Feb 2007

KUALA LUMPUR: The public is invited to submit proposals on improving the public service delivery system in ways that will make Malaysia a respected, model nation. The Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (Mampu) said in a statement that people could submit proposals or suggest improvements, which could be implemented in the short-, medium- and long- terms.

Proposals should be sent to before Feb 20.

Mampu is in the middle of drawing up an agenda to empower the delivery system with the aim of establishing a modern, responsive and efficient public service based on excellent administration. "The desired objective is to develop capability, efficiency and effectiveness of the public service. "This effort has to be stepped up through administrative improvement towards establishing a service for clients which incorporates speed, volume and accuracy," the statement said. The effort will be confined to the Klang Valley as the launching pad before it is expanded to cover the whole country, it added.

= = == ==
Little Limp Napoleons and Mighty Ming Emperors

January 28th, 2007 from BAKRI MUSA
If Prime Minister Abdullah cannot handle the Little Limp Napoleons in the bloated Malaysian bureaucracy, there is little assurance that he could deal with the Mighty Ming Emperors of the competitive world.

We had a preview of this in the bungled negotiations over the proposed crooked bridge to replace the causeway. That was an embarrassingly graphic demonstration of the administration’s ineptness. If that was Abdullah’s performance in dealing with representatives of only a Little Ming Emperor, imagine if the adversary had been the big Ming Emperor! In the negotiations with Singapore over the proposed bridge, Abdullah nearly gave away the store after being indulged with effusive flatteries. Malaysia is currently deliberating a Free Trade Agreement with America; that treaty will have major social, economic, and foreign policy implications. If the recent experience with Singapore is any indicator, I reckon that with only a brief visit to the White House, minus a state dinner, would be enough for America to secure whatever it wants from Malaysia. It would be pretentious of me to suggest to Abdullah ways of dealing with the Ming Emperors of the world, but having served as a surgeon in the Malaysian medical service, I have some ideas on disciplining those Little Napoleons of our civil service. Yes they existed, and were pests, even then. As for the metaphorical Ming Emperors, rest assured that they did not get to be the “top dog” without being tough, skillful, and in many instances, ruthless. If they were so disposed to their own kind, they would not be any less to others. Taking on our local Little Napoleons would thus be good exercise and training for Abdullah in dealing with the outside Ming Emperors.

The Problems

It is ironic that Abdullah, being a former longtime civil servant, could not discipline those Little Napoleons. Going by the precept that it would take a thief to catch another, Abdullah should be the best person to reform the civil service and rein in those little Napoleons. Unfortunately this former Little Napoleon has become an even bigger Napoleon, albeit still a limp one, on becoming Prime Minister.

In my book Towards A Competitive Malaysia, I wrote that Malays have special reasons in demanding an efficient civil service. One, it is needed to implement the various NEP programs to help Malays. Two, being an increasingly if not exclusively Malay institution, its deficiencies are thus viewed as the failings of the race. The civil service has at least three significant problems: insularity, lack of specialization, and the brief tenure of its senior heads. Promotions are strictly from within, with no infusion of fresh talent at the upper levels. Recruits enter at the lowest level and work their way up patiently. Personnel are transferred all over the service, with few opportunities to develop areas of competence. You may be in Treasury this year and in charge of old buildings the next. As officers wait patiently for their turn, they reach the top only near their retirement age. Then they are left wondering whether their contract would be renewed. When renewed, it is often only for short durations.

Such agency heads would then be consumed with planning their post retirement careers. The temptation (and reality) would be to suck up to their superiors in the hope of extending their contracts or securing a plump directorship in one of the GLCs. Thus at the time when they should be independent and assertive after reaching the pinnacle of their careers, they become docile and not dare challenge their political superiors. If I were to survey the top 100 civil servants, this is what I would find. They would be mostly Malays, liberal arts graduates of local public universities, science illiterate, have abysmal mathematical skills, and little facility with English. Their reading repertoire does not extend beyond local publications. Do not expect them to read the Economist or Wall Street Journal. They do not own a laptop, meaning that when they are away from their offices, they cannot do their office work or communicate except by phone.

The late Tun Razak recognized early the weaknesses of the civil service. Instead of endlessly lamenting or criticizing the state of affairs, he invited an American consultant, Milton Esman, to spruce up the service. To me, the revealing aspect of Esman’s work was not his official report rather the book he wrote chronicling his local experiences. Particularly trenchant were his observations on the habits and work culture of our senior civil servants. For example, he was flabbergasted to find that in the official meetings of the Secretaries-General (KSU), the ministries’ number one civil servants, the bulk of the discussions were on trivia like who would get which prized government quarters! One would have expected substantive discussions on major policies. There has been no change since then.

The Remedies
It would not take much to change the work culture of the civil service. A few high-level recruitments from the outside would quickly break the insularity of the service. Imagine recruiting a senior executive from a multinational corporation to be the next Chief Secretary; he would revamp the work culture right away. The impact on the other senior civil servants would also be immediate. Knowing that the top slot is not theirs automatically, they would now buckle down to prove themselves. A few such high level infusions of talent would shake up the civil service in no time.

Next would be to recruit graduates from disciplines other than the liberal arts and encourage those professionals in the civil service (engineers, lawyers, and doctors) who have an interest in management to go for their MBAs. I fail to see why a doctor or engineer could not be a Secretary-General, especially for those ministries that have a high professional component, like Health and Works. As recommended by Esman, there should be specialization within the civil service, with officers rotated only within their special sphere of expertise. Ministries like Treasury, Trade and Industry, Customs, and Taxation with their high accounting and economics content could be one area.

Another would be Transport, Environment, and Works Ministries with their high technology contents. Third would be those concerned with security, and fourth, foreign affairs. Lastly, there should be greater competition for the top slots. When vacancies occur, they should be open to outside candidates as well as those within the service that are three or four layers below so as to tap the widest and deepest pool of talent. When officers get the top spot, they should be given at least a five-year term even if they are within a year or two of the official retirement age. That would give them time to stamp their mark. Besides, with such job security they would be less likely to be shy in challenging stupid ideas coming from their political superiors. The nation would then be well served. Implementing these reforms would require minimal changes in the civil service code or personnel policies. Nor would these changes incur additional costs.The major obstacle would be for the Prime Minister, being a former civil servant himself, to accept these innovations. The “not invented here” syndrome is ingrained in our civil servants. For that to change, the Prime Minster, his advisers and senior civil servants would first have to expand their intellectual horizon considerably. That would be the challenge.

= = = == =
The 3P and PEMUDAH are sorely needed in this sorely bloated and obese government machinery. But herein lies the problem as pronouned by the Education Minister In our system, it is hard to fire someone. If I can’t sack them, they can stay in the pool until they retire”. The government cannot touch them just like those on AWOL (absence without leave also NO Question asked. Just look at their opening hours, you can see who are the shirkers.

They are stickler to the rules and created by them for their own conveniences WITH ALL the EXCUSES. There are far TOO many warlords in the various government departments and they are wielding their own powers and setting terms and conditions at their own whims and fancies and giving out notices in the name of the Director. One such Department is the Veterinary Service Department Clinic located at Jalan Cheras Kuala Lumpur. It is the ONLY government clinic in the whole of Kula Lumpur providing the much needed services for the animals. But look at their working clinical hours. And do you think they carry out surgeries daily? Most of the time, the officer is out on MORE important jobs (see list Below)

Look at the clinic hours, every department has Friday prayers but this department also observes “Thursday prayers” - no work on Thursday afternoon!. You will be LUCKY if they observed these stated hours.

The notice (below) further shock you, supposed to be from the Director, the Seperti Biasa (common hours) in the afternoon is from 2.15 pm to 3.30 pm and NOT up to 4.15 pm as stated - so another 1/2 lost

So all in how many officially clinical hours they do; Mon to Wed 7 Thu & Fri = 23 hours. And mind you registration stops at 11.30 am another ½ hour gone and minus up to 3.30 pm, we have 23 hrs – (3x ¾ hrs + 5 x ½ hr) = 23 hrs – 4-3/4hrs = 18-1/4 hrs out of a total 40- hour week.

Of course even if the Minister Myhuddin confronts them, they will be excuses; they need to go site visit, (to check on the no of livestock arriving as per permit; no hanky panky in smuggling) meetings & paper work This outside visit for enforcement etc (see list below) for the officer is of course more lucrative, they get mileage claims.

Then why the Hospital Kuala Lumpur CAN observe a full 8 clinical hours? (see BELOW) and this would really put them to shame.

= = == = == = == = = == == == = =

And it is no better in Dewan Bandar RAYA KL (ABOVE). Even if you need to pay a summons, you MUST wait sometimes. There are TWO counters (and if one staff is on sick leave) the other need to take his lunch and was back at 2.20 pm.

This is working to rule; they cannot have “take away” lunch to man the empty counters which are supposed to be opened non-stop. (see BELOW). Someone should be there at the stated opening hours

The list can go on. Go to Traffic Police HQ in Jln Tun H S Lee and they would not accept your fines at 8.30 am sharp, the stated opening hours. Apparently, they need to have the computers “warm up”. So how will the delivery system be improved if the working hours are not adhered to?

February 08, 2007 18:17 PM

= = = = ==
Friday February 9, 2007

‘Pool of doom’ warning; By KAREN CHAPMAN;

PUTRAJAYA: Education officers and teachers have been warned that if they do not know the National Education Blueprint 2006-2010 inside out, and implement it well, they will be left in a “pool of doom” until retirement. Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said that with the announcement of the improvement in conditions for those at state and district levels, there should be more commitment in the implementation of the blueprint. “There is no place in our delivery system for those who don’t perform. If there is a need for us to create a pool to place teachers and officers who don’t perform, we will do so,” he said when announcing the restructuring of state education departments at the ministry yesterday.

In our system, it is hard to fire someone. If I can’t sack them, they can stay in the pool until they retire. “If they don't perform, they are doomed; because if I don’t perform, I am doomed as the minister,” he added. On the restructuring, Hishammuddin said this would take effect immediately. Among important changes is the increase of state education department officers by 188% – involving 518 graduates – to ensure efficient delivery of the blueprint. Another is the upgrading of three state education departments, namely, Kedah, Pahang and Kelantan, to A grade, and Perlis to B, and the setting up of new sectors and units. The Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor, Johor and Perak education departments are in A grade while Malacca, Negri Sembilan, Penang, Terengganu and Kuala Lumpur are in B grade.

Hishammuddin said the increase in staff would also address the teacher shortage problem because as at December last year, the state education departments had borrowed 1,108 staff, including 390 graduate teachers. “We want to ensure they have enough human resources capacity to implement everything in the blueprint,” he added. Hishammuddin said the restructuring would also see the inclusion of diplomatic administrative officers, information technology officers and accountants into the state education departments, as this was approved by the Public Service Department recently.

The last restructuring process took place in 1995, he added.

= = == =

PM Announces New Committee To Tackle Problems In Public Sector

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 8 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Thursday announced the formation of a new committee called the Public Service Delivery Coordination Committee (its Bahasa Malaysia acronym is 3P) aimed at tackling ills in the public sector. The Prime Minister said it would be headed by the Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan and that its members would be made up of senior officers of several government departments. "We hope with this committee, all that ails the public sector can be overcome -- mistakes and weaknesses can be rectified, fiscal matters can be improved further and any shortcomings can be addressed," he said.

He told this to reporters after the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin's visit to the Prime Minister's Office here. Abdullah, who is also the Finance Minister, said the committee would meet fortnightly or more often if required. "Its set-up is in line with the government's aim of making 2007 the year for increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the government's delivery system," he added. The Prime Minister gave the example of how his department had improved its efficiency in matters of payment with 98 per cent of transactions now being settled within seven days against a given time-frame of two weeks. "It still needs to be improved by another two per cent, let it be 100 per cent. We also must maintain the efficiency level achieved," said Abdullah, adding that the achievement was part of the contents of his briefing for the King. He hoped that with the setting up the 3P committee and Pemudah (the Special Task Force to Facilitate Business), the public service delivery system would perform much better.

"With this (3P and Pemudah), I hope the people will gain more and also help boost the implementation of development projects and programmes," he said. Its set up was in line with the government's aim of making 2007 the year for increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the government's delivery system, he said. The Prime Minister gave the example of how his department had improved its efficiency in matters of payment with 98 per cent of transactions now being settled within seven days against a timeline of two weeks given. "It still needs to be improved by another two per cent, let it be 100 per cent. We also must maintain the efficiency level achieved," said Abdullah, adding that the achievement was part of the contents of his briefing to Tuanku Mizan. He further hoped that with the setting up the 3P committee and Pemudah (the Special Task Force to Facilitate Business), the public service delivery system would perform much better. "With this (3P and Pemudah), I hope the people will gain more and also help boost the implementation of development projects and programmes," he said.

The Prime Minister also said that Key Performance Indices (KPIs) were in place to measure various categories of performance in the public sector. This included KPIs on corruption, efficiency and effectiveness in delivery, families' well being, courtesy and values and on social responsibility. "A review on them (KPIs) will be made periodically, the next one will most likely be in September," he said, adding that the heads of department would be held responsible for meeting the targets set. To a question, he said that the government was constantly monitoring the performance of public sector personnel and that reshuffling was done if thought necessary. Abdullah added that the steps taken (setting up Pemudah and 3P committee) were part of renewal efforts for a more effective implementation of the Ninth Malaysia Plan. Touching on the King's visit, he said that his department was the first stop in series of visits His Majesty would be making to get a first hand view of developments taking place in the country. "Seri Paduka (His Majesty) expressed his satisfaction and thanks for the briefing that was given today," he said. According to Abdullah, among the matters that attracted the King's attention were those on efforts to improve the government's delivery system.

= = == = = = =
February 08, 2007 17:57 PM

PM Gives Task Force Six Months To Make A Difference

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 6 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is giving the newly-established Special Task Force to Facilitate Business (Pemudah) six months to show results. "I hope it (Pemudah) can achieve significant results in improving the delivery system. I will give them six months to make a difference," the Prime Minister told a press conference after the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin's visit to the Prime Minister's Office here Thursday. Abdullah said he wanted the representatives from the public and private sectors selected to participate in Pemudah to prove that they were serious about bringing changes and to always attend the meetings scheduled.

"Pemudah will hold meetings often to find solutions to problems that arise in the relationship between the public and private sectors and to give its views on new approaches that can be taken to help the government improve efficiency all round," he added. The Prime Minister's Department Wednesday announced that Pemudah, which Abdullah on Jan 11 said would be formed to help enhance business, would be jointly chaired by the Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan and Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) president Datuk Yong Poh Kon. Among others, Pemudah is entrusted with the responsibility of promoting faster reform in the country's delivery system and enhance economic activities. Abdullah, who is also Finance Minister, said the task force's 23 members would need to set in their minds that they were capable of achieving the objectives given.

"Tak boleh kata nothing (Cannot say nothing), we achieve nothing or nothing is happening. How can? You can (do it)," he said, stressing that the body was not a forum for dialogue between the public and private sectors. "This body is in line with the Malaysia Inc concept. We want Pemudah to be a success as it is a win-win proposition for everyone, the government, the people and businessmen," he said. To a question, Abdullah said the government would find ways to motivate civil servants to bring about improvements to public service delivery system.

= = == = == = =
February 08, 2007 20:01 PM

Penang Hopes To Learn From New Task Force To Facilitate Business
PENANG, Feb 8 (Bernama) -- The Penang government hopes to learn from the newly-formed Special Task Force to Facilitate Business (Pemudah) to make its services more efficient and effective. Its Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon said the state has a similar unit in the form of the State Government Resilient Management Committee whose objective included enhancing Penang's delivery system. Speaking to reporters after attending a Chinese New Year Festival, organised by the Universiti Sains Malaysia Student Representatives Council here today, he said all the state's main department heads are members of the committee. Dr Koh was commenting on the formation of the task force, announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi yesterday, who was entrusted to make the administration's delivery system more business-friendly. "To streamline the activities of the central government and Penang, the committee which I chair will expand its functions by inviting the private sector and academicians to join in some of its meetings," he said.


= = == see also the latest posting on Breakdown of Discipline and inhuman ragging in the Air Force Training College in Badawi's Kepala Batas. Go H E R E on

MORE PICTURES – AIR FORCE TRAINEE, 20 TORTURED By Seniors for Over a Month after Misunderstanding over a Girl ; Dunked in Water Till Vomit; Washed, Gargle in Sewerage, Drink Urine; Eat Nasi lemak with Grass, Rubbing Shit on Face

Thursday, February 08, 2007

ASLI PROGNOSIS-Malaysian ECONOMY 2007/2008: Sustained Growth 5.9%; Buoyant Sentiments, Ringgit Strengthening, Business Confidence; Inflation 2.5-3%

Is it any wonder there was a hive of activities in KLSE over the last few days? The ASLI report must have been in the hands of many before it was released. And the good news is spreading fast and wide with share prices on the up in most of the counters when ASLI predicted that the Malaysian economy is projected to see sustained growth this year and in 2008 at a similar pace of 5.9 percent as sentiment remains buoyant with the strengthening of the ringgit (RM3.40 to US$1 by End-2007 & RM3.30 by end-2008) and business confidence.

Asli: Malaysia's economy to grow 5.9% in 2007, 2008

Kevin Tan & Yap Yew Jin Feb 07, 2007 ; from TheEdgedaily

The country's economy is expected to grow by 5.9% in 2007 and 2008, riding on higher government spending under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP) and soaring foreign and domestic investors' confidence, the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (Asli) said. "The projected rise will be close to the country's potential output growth estimated at 6% per annum," Asli senior economic research fellow Datuk Dr Gan Khuan Poh told reporters in Kuala Lumpur on Feb 7. He said the pace of investments was anticipated to continue with national development spending rising in tandem with the expected strengthening of investors' confidence.

"Total investment is projected to grow at 8.1% annually in 2007 and 2008 while private investment is forecast to expand by 9.9% in 2007 and 10.3% in 2008," Gan said. Besides the boost from the 2% reduction in corporate income tax rate starting 2007, the ringgit appreciation was also expected to facilitate private investment through lowering the cost of imported technology, machinery and expertise, he added. Meanwhile, public investment would grow at 6.5% in 2007 and 6.2% in 2008 as the implementation of 9MP projects are likely to peak in the second and third year of the five-year development plan from 2006 to 2010.

"These projects include the commercial and industrial projects earmarked in
three development corridors in Peninsular Malaysia and higher allocation for infrastructure development in Sabah and Sarawak," Gan said. However, the pace of Malaysia's gross exports is likely to ease to about 9% in 2007 before picking up slightly to 9.5% in 2008 as the US economic growth is anticipated to moderate. "Gross imports are forecast to expand at 9.7% in 2007 and 11% in 2008, outpacing exports as domestic demands and imports are stimulated by a strengthening currency," he said.

Notwithstanding the higher anticipated import growth, Malaysia's trade surplus is forecast to rise to RM110 billion and RM115 billion in 2007 and 2008 respectively as the volume of exports exceeds imports. On the ringgit, which breached 3.45 to the US dollar yesterday, Gan said Asli was expecting the currency to strengthen further to 3.40 to the US dollar by year-end and to 3.30 by end-2008. He said the ringgit forecast was based on Malaysia's current account surplus and reserves.

As of now, Bank Negara Malaysia's foreign reserves can last for more than eight months. On whether the rising ringgit would affect Malaysia's exports, Gan said trade competitiveness did not rely on foreign exchange only. A stronger ringgit also allows for cheaper imports of capital goods for
companies to improve their production capacity, he added.

= = = = == = = == = =
February 07, 2007 17:54 PM

Malaysian Economy To See Sustained Growth In 2007 And 2008

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 7 (Bernama) -- The Malaysian economy is projected to see sustained growth this year and in 2008 at a similar pace of 5.9 percent as sentiment remains buoyant with the strengthening of the ringgit and business confidence. Chairman of Centre for Public Policy Studies of the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (Asli), Tan Sri Ramon V. Navaratnam, said the ringgit appreciation was expected to facilitate private investments through lowering the costs of imported technology, machinery and expertise. Asli's publication, "Malaysia Economic Perspectives" forecast the ringgit at 3.40 to US dollar by year-end and at 3.30 by end-2008.

"Total investment is projected to grow at 8.1 percent annually in 2007 and 2008 while private investment is forecast to expand by 9.9 percent in 2007 and 10.3 percent in 2008," Navaratnam said at an Asli media briefing, Wednesday. Meanwhile, president of Malaysia Economic Association and senior economic research fellow of Asli, Datuk Dr Gan Khuan Poh, said while Malaysia's economic fundamentals were strong after the Asian economic crisis, productivity, output and competitiveness remained the key risks to its long-term economic growth. "Malaysia's potential output growth has been trending downwards from nine percent in the early 1990s to about 5.5-6 percent currently. This phenomenon is a consequence of suffering contractions in real private investments of 11.6 percent in the Seventh Malaysian Plan and one percent in the Eighth Malaysian Plan," Gan said. He said other potential risks to the Malaysian economy were the prevailing high oil prices and prospects of any global imbalances.

"Though the risk of a global economic downturn has increased, our view is that the US economy will likely achieve a 'soft landing' with growth expected to dip below trend growth of three percent in 2007. "The Malaysian economy can overcome the potential downside risks in the medium to long term by emphasising a productivity-driven and private sector-led economy," he said. "There is a shortage of skilled-manpower in the country to enable the economy produce products with leading-edge technology. With the ringgit's strength, companies will have to increase competitiveness to boost exports as we could no longer be a low-cost producing country," Gan said. He said the strengthening of the ringgit would also contribute to a stable inflation outlook.

"Based on the expectation that world oil price will range between US$50-55 a barrel over the medium term, Malaysia's consumer price index (CPI) inflation is forecast to range between 2.5 percent and three percent over the same period," Gan said. With inflation anticipated to be benign, he said, interest rates would likely remain low and stable, with real rates ranging between one and 1.5 percent. He said the overnight policy rate (OPR) over the medium term is expected to be range bound between 3.5 percent and four percent unless weaker-than-expected economic growth requires an interest cut to boost demand. Another underlying factor in Malaysia's economy is the high savings rate. Malaysia's excess savings, Gan said, has played a key role in the liquidity of the banking system. "Malaysia's excess savings as reflected by a positive savings-investment gap had allowed the government and the private sector to finance public debt out of domestic savings rather than international borrowings," he said. As for Malaysia's budget deficit, Gan said it would remain at manageable level with the government using its flexibility in adjusting taxes.

= == = == = = = =

Asli: Inflation at 2.5%-3% this year

By Kevin Tan Feb 07, 2007; from TheEdgedaily

Malaysia's inflation rate is expected to decline to as low as 2.5% in 2007 from an estimated 3.6% last year mainly due to falling oil prices, according to the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (Asli). In a recent economic report, it said world oil prices would range between US$50 (RM174.68) and US$55 a barrel over the medium term and Malaysia's inflation was forecast to range between 2.5% and 3% over the same period. "The downtrend in world oil prices and a moderation in global demand have helped to ease inflationary expectations and price pressures both internally

and externally. The short-term threat of inflation is therefore downgraded as the economic focus shifts to growth," it said. Despite the downtrend, Asli expected world oil prices to be sustained at above the US$50 level due to possible production cuts by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) members to support the price, and strong demand from oil-importing countries. "Though the risk of an oil price shock has receded, the threat nevertheless remains as geo-political uncertainties continue to prevail in the oil-exporting Middle Eastern countries," it said. However, Asli also said effects of high oil prices on the economy are "less deleterious" with Malaysia continuing to be a net oil exporter over the forecast horizon and essential items under price control with subsidy provided by the government.

"With inflation anticipated to be benign, interest rates will likely remain low and stable, with real rates ranging between 1% and 1.5%," it said Asli added that the overnight policy rate over the medium term was expected to range between 3.5% and 4% unless weaker-than-expected economic growth requires an interest cut to boost demand.

South Johor land-linked stocks up on ME interest

Published February 7, 2007; from Business-times.asiaone

(PETALING JAYA) Shares of companies with land in south Johor rose in active trading in the past two days amid market talk of interest in land purchases by Middle Eastern investors, and as condominium prices in Singapore set record prices week after week, The Star reported. UEM World Bhd jumped 28 sen as a major gainer to RM2.65 on Monday; yesterday, the stock reached a record high of RM2.79. Tebrau Teguh Bhd was up 7 sen to 59.5 sen on Monday and rose higher yesterday to 64 sen. Meanwhile, Mulpha-W increased 3 sen to 30.5 sen and rose again on Tuesday to 35 sen. All three companies were among several analysed in UOB Kay Hian's report last year on the super-cycle potential of the South Johor Economic Region, since renamed Iskandar Development Region (IDR). Tebrau, UEM World and Mulpha-W were among the six most active stocks on Monday, amid market talk that Middle Eastern investors were willing to pay record prices for thousands of hectares in south Johor. 'Discussions with Middle East investors are advancing from the time Khazanah Nasional executives made a marketing trip there last year,' dealers said.

So far, land transactions in the IDR had involved local developers. There is anticipation that foreign investors, in particular those from Middle East, would soon enter the scene at much higher prices. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that petrodollar-rich Middle Eastern investors had spent a lot on initial public offerings in China in the past year, and were now acquiring strategic stakes in high-growth business sectors in the rest of Asia. These acquisitions into businesses represented a shift from traditional assets in treasury and portfolio investments, the WSJ said. There was also talk of foreign fund managers buying south Johor stocks. 'Their interest could be due to the continuous increase in condo prices on a per sq ft basis in Singapore. That's been setting record prices every week,' said Lim Beng Leong, head of UOB Kay Hian's Malaysian research.

= = == = =

Volume hits all-time high of 2.34b shares; By Joseph Chin

Volume transacted on Bursa surged to a record 2.35 billion units on Feb 7, with a value of RM3.28 billion as the stock market continued its bullish run. Frenzied buying of heavyweights and large capitalised stocks sent the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI) to a 10-year high. On Feb 7, the market also saw interest in lower liners, with 16 of them among the 20 most active counters. At the close, the KLCI rose 6.94 points to 1,243.57, and the FBMEmas Index rose 60.72 points to 8,225.44. Advancers beat decliners 541 to 360 while 276 counters were unchanged. Feb 7 also saw the listing of Public Bank Bhd-CA and Malayan Banking Bhd-CC, which were among the top gainers. Public Bank-CA closed 81 sen higher at RM1.17 with 22.58 million units done while Maybank-CC rose 56.5 sen to 95 sen on a volume of 19.14 million.

The major gainers include Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd, which jumped 50 sen to RM16.70, Industrial Concrete Products Bhd 41 sen to RM3.20, Resorts World Bhd and Cement Industries Malaysia Bhd 40 sen each to RM16.90 and RM5 respectively, DiGi.Com Bhd 30 sen to RM15.70 and Bumiputra-Commerce Holdings Bhd 25 sen to RM10.20. Malaysian Resources Corporation Bhd rose 22 sen to RM1.70, UEM World Bhd was up 18 sen to RM2.97 while UEM Builders Bhd added 13 sen to RM1.88.

Marco Holdings Bhd's warrants were the most active with 118.46 million units done or 5.05% of total volume. It fell 0.5 sen to 10 sen. Aseambankers Malaysia research head Vincent Khoo said he expected the market volume and upward momentum to continue in the short term. He said foreign portfolio funds were picking up heavyweights and blue chips while merger and acquisition activities would continue to generate interest in the market. The ringgit continued to strengthen against the US dollar and was quoted at 3.492 at 5pm on Feb 7.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

MORE PICS – DAP Dares SAMY To Bare ALL in MR2 FIASCO; SHOCKING Disclosures: Contractors awarded lack expertise; Incompetent; Ready For a Quick Buck

The off-the-cuff replies (as reported ONLY in the Sunday Star, 11 Feb 07, are piecemeal and sketchy and provide NO details. It was reported (correctly or incorrectly that “RM 8 million was paid to a foreign consultant”. Only One consultant; not three? Earlier reports indicated a neutral consultant Halcrow Group Ltd was appointed. This was what Samy was quoted “Clarifying reports on the foreign consultants involved in the case, Samy Vellu said the first consultant -- Mounsell, Sharma and Zakaria -- are the original design consultants."Once the problem was identified, they asked Monash University specialists to study it," he said. At the same time, the contractor, Sukmim, Bumi Hiway and KKM (Wilayah), also engaged a German consultant, Kohler & Seitz, to study the problem. As they both came out with different conclusions, the government engaged Halcrow to give the last word, he clarified.”

Even the number of pillars he was quoted now (36 ) is different from the earlier ones – “18 out of 31 pillars). 31, 33 or 36 ; how many Samy? See previous Post H E R E and quote below. How many pillars Samy. Your facts are changing and so is your truth! And yest he claimed he has nothing to hide. Then give a F U L L statement and stop beating about the bush.

"We did not want to be faced with the same problem with the other pillars (of MRR2). So, we took into account all the 31 pillars and, therefore, the cost increased by RM30 million," he said.
The confusion, mystery & discrepancies deepen and MP Dr Tan Seng Giaw should at the next March 07 Parliament sitting queries him further for a more detailed statement (and WHY the local consultants and builders are not liable to the repair cost for this fiasco) IF he said there is nothing to hide.

= = == = = = =

Sunday February 11, 2007; Sunday STAR

Samy explains RM70m bill

SUNGAI SIPUT: Consultant fees and additional work have pushed up the cost of repairing the RM120mil Middle Ring Road Two by almost four times. Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said the initial repair cost was RM18mil but because of the additional cost, it had gone up to RM70mil. “The initial figure did not take into consideration the RM8mil paid to a foreign consultant,” he told reporters after presenting ang pow and hampers to Sungai Siput Old Folks Home residents yesterday.

He said the number of pillars needed to be repaired also doubled from 18 to 36. Samy Vellu was commenting on a statement by Public Accounts Committee chairman Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad who questioned the high repair cost. Ticking off the Opposition for challenging him to reveal the reason behind the higher repair cost, the minister said: “We have nothing to hide. You ask, I will answer.”

The MRR2's 1.7km flyover in Kepong, Kuala Lumpur, was closed on Aug 8, 2004, as a precautionary measure after hairline cracks were detected on the columns. It was reopened to light vehicles on Nov 12 and to all vehicles on Dec 7 the same year. However, it was closed again in February last year for remedial works. Commenting on calls to make public the agreements between the Government and highway concessionaires, Samy Vellu said both parties had to agree before they could be made public. He added that the agreement could not be changed even if it was made public. “You will not be satisfied even if you have viewed it,” the minister said

= == == =

Toll concession agreements: Need for nod to go public

11 Feb 2007; Shahrul Hafeez

SUNGAI SIPUT: Consent would have to be obtained from the concessionaires of tolled roads before their agreements with the government could be made public, Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said. Even if the agreements were declassified, those unhappy with the terms would not be able to change them, he said here yesterday.

The minister was commenting on calls for toll concession agreements to be removed from the ambit of Official Secrets Act (OSA). "The agreements are an understanding reached between the two parties. Approval for them to be made public has to come from the Cabinet and then we have to get the concessionaires to agree," he said. Samy Vellu pointed out that the government had been transparent with the concession deals and had even invited DAP members to look at the agreement for the construction of the North-South Expressway. This month, police took statements from four opposition politicians over the disclosure of the agreement with Litrak, the concession-holder for the Damansara-Puchong Highway, after it increased toll charges from RM1 to RM1.60 last month. They were Pas treasurer Dr Hatta Ramli, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) treasurer Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, PKR information chief Tian Chua and Ronnie Liu, who heads the DAP’s bureau on non-governmental organisations. They claimed that the government had, in the agreement, guaranteed profits to the concessionaire. Under Section 8 of the OSA, a conviction for an offence carries a maximum jail term of 12 months.

= == = =

The facts were made by 2nd Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop and Deputy Auditor-General Anwari Suri (in an article in Buletin Audit).

The shocking facts about contractors who were awarded government projects but lack expertise. These are the heights of Government irresponsibility and this state of affairs is allowed to continue by Datuk Samy Velu when he announced that the “design & build” concept would continue, see previous post H E R E. The recent projects in spotlights are:

* Middle Ring Road 2: Cost - RM120m; an extra RM70m to pay for repair work
* Navy Recruit Training Centre (Pularek): Cost - RM198m; extra RM13m needed, 7,032 defects
* Matrade Building: Cost - RM287m; the cost kept rising until it reached that amount.

(see previous post H E R E.)

Meanwhile the DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw has challenged Datuk Samy Vellu to disclose further details and explanations for the MMR2 fiasco which is costing the taxpayers to pay dearly.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw: 1st it was RM18 Millionm, then RM40 Million....

Now He admitted to RM70 Million.. partly to repairs... partly to pay the Consultants... "I want Samy to announce. how many consultants and people were appointed to this repair fiasco"
Also "Reaveal the anti-corruption investigating findings in the MMR2 Cracks; make it public Samy"
= = == = = == == =

Friday, February 02, 2007; Dr Tan Seng Giaw

The explanation on RM70 million to repair Kepong MRR2 is unsatisfactory
DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw is very unhappy with the Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu's answer to the extra RM70 million for the repair of the extensive cracks of the Kepong MRR2. Dr Tan comments on Samy Vellu's explanation on 1 February, 2007 that the government had to spend RM70 million in the repair of the serious cracks of the Middle Ring Road Two. This includes fees to the project's consultants. The explanation is unsatisfactory. Two years ago Samy insisted that the bad cracks of 31 crossbeams of MRR2 out of 33 was not due to design fault. Now, he attributes the cracks to the design-and-build concept which he said was "shoddy". Last year, he asked the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to announce the appointment of the British consultant with a cost of RM18 million. Then, the Cabinet agreed to the replacement of the British consultant with the German firm at the cost of RM40 million, to be paid by the contractor. Now, the expenditure is RM70 million. The MRR2 saga including the repair boggles the mind. The culture of high cost, delay, multiple consultants, shoddy work and extraordinary cost is amazing. This type of culture should not be allowed to persist until 2020 when Malaysia is targetted to be a developed nation. We need to know the truth about the MRR2 saga, especially the number of consultants appointed by the various people involved and the actual cost.

= == = == =

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The actual cost of Kepong MRR2 (flyover) project? ; Dr Tan Seng Giaw

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw calls on the Works Ministry to make public the detailed expenditure for the Kepong MRR2 (flyover) project, including the real expenditure for the repair of the extensive cracks. Dr Tan comments on the Kepong MRR2 in the midst of the celebration of the Federal Territory Day, 1.2.2007. Today, we are happy to celebrate Federal Territory Day with the myriad programmes at Merdeka Square, officiated by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. The PM is visibly happy. In the midst of the celebration, we look at certain unhappy things such as the Kepong MRR2 saga. At the end of last year, the Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu announced the complete opening of the flyover, three lanes in each direction. While this shows that the repair works is completed, we are still waiting for the details of the expenditure on the flyover as well as the actual cost of the repair. Kepong MRR2 is virtually similar to many flyovers along the Kuala Lumpur Middle Ring Road 2. So far, other flyovers show no defects. Kepong MRR2 has 33 cross beams, 31 of which were cracked. In 2006, the Works Minister went to the Prime Minister to announce the appointment of a British consultant to do the repair of the cracks for RM14 million. Two weeks later, the Works Ministry had the approval of the Cabinet to replace the British with a German consultant, costing RMN40 million. Now, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu admitted that the repair cost was RM70 million. When the PM made the announcement, the cost of the repair was to be borne by the contractor. Hitherto, the Government has paid first. We need to know the details of the total cost of the Kepong MRR2 project, including the heavy repair. Who pays for the repair?

= === ==

ABOVE & BELOW: The MMR2 fiasco started when cracks were found after its completion in 2002 and repairs completed in Dec 2006 and opened back for traffic

Astonishing... Ridiculous... but True: Costly blunders in awarding contracts

04 Feb 2007; Sarban Singh and Audrey Dermawan; NST
Some shocking facts about contractors who were awarded government projects: They lack expertise. Incompetent. Too ready to make a quick buck. Projects in the spotlight recently:
* Middle Ring Road 2: Cost - RM120m; an extra RM70m to pay for repair work
* Navy Recruit Training Centre (Pularek): Cost - RM198m; extra RM13m needed, 7,032 defects
* Matrade Building: Cost - RM287m; the cost kept rising until it reached that amount.
KUALA LUMPUR: It may sound astonishing; even ridiculous. But it is true. Some tenders for government projects have been awarded to contractors who have no expertise whatsoever. And some have been given to those who do not have sufficient financial means to complete the work. Some contractors sell their contracts for a quick buck. And some consultants are grossly incompetent. Is it any wonder then that there are costly delays in project completion? And it’s no wonder costly repairs need to be undertaken on finished projects. These facts were revealed yesterday by Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop and deputy Auditor-General Anwari Suri. Although neither of them mentioned it, several government projects have been in the limelight recently for not meeting standards.

ABOVE: The specifications of the repairs and BELOW: Close up of details of the steel reinforced attachment to the cross beams.

Among these are the RM120 million Middle Ring Road 2, where an additional RM70 million had to be paid for repair work; the RM167 million Matrade building which was eventually completed at a cost of RM287 million; and the RM198 million Navy Recruit Training Centre (Pularek) which had 7,032 defects and needed an additional RM13 million. Anwari said there were cases where consultants appointed by contractors for large projects were grossly incompetent, which led to delays in the completion of the projects. "Some of the contractors could not even hire skilled and technical workers due to lack of funds and this has many a time resulted in shoddy work. "The plans for the projects were also sub-standard and their workers were not trained to do what they did." Anwari said this in an article, Monitoring Construction Projects, which he co-authored with the department’s technical adviser, Abdul Razak Sulong.

It appeared in the department’s magazine, Buletin Audit. "(Under such circumstances) You can monitor and audit the project for all you want but if these aspects are not looked into, the end-result could be embarrassing." Anwari said some contractors used inferior quality construction materials, such as adulterated cement and low quality wood, to cut costs. "There have been cases where the construction materials used were not according to that stated in the contract specifications. The use of such materials could eventually affect the entire structure." Poorly stored building materials, he added, could also contribute to poor quality of work. Anwari said some contractors still used old building techniques and this too contributed to delays. "All ministries and departments must set up teams to supervise this. "They must have regular meetings and visit the sites regularly. They should also have proper records on progress of work, conduct tests on the materials used and ensure that all records are well maintained," he said.

"It is also their job to ensure the contractors have enough skilled workers to complete the given task." In George Town, Nor Mohamed lamented that the majority of the 32,000 registered Class F contractors nationwide had yet to "graduate" to Class A despite being given contracts worth hundreds of thousands of ringgit. One of the reasons was that some of them sold their contracts for a quick buck. In expressing disappointment with this, the minister said the government had given more than ample contracts to these contractors.

Class F contractors are those who can take up jobs worth not more than RM200,000.
"We have even introduced various schemes to help them," he told reporters after officiating the balloting to appoint contractors to undertake small projects in the Southwest District in Balik Pulau yesterday. "Sadly, many of them still fail to improve themselves." Present were Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussin, the ministry’s Parliamentary Secretary Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya, Implementation and Co-ordination Unit director-general Tan Sri Khalid Ramli and Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Izzuddin Dali. Nor Mohamed, however, had praises for certain Class F contractors who performed well and had become Class A contractors.

He commended Penang’s Mohamed Fadzill Hassan, who had worked his way up from a Class F to a Class A contractor. "He should be a role model for others to emulate. "The government will continue to help in promoting these successful contractors. I am sure if the contractors carry out the jobs given to them properly, they will also achieve great success," he said. Earlier in his speech, Nor Mohamed said the government had allocated RM2.1 billion this year for 40,000 small projects nationwide. The projects are expected to benefit 32,000 Class F contractors. Penang has been given RM148 million from the total amount for 3,000 projects, which are mainly infrastructure-based.

- - -- - -

for the previous posting , Go H E R E on

MORE PICS – MMR2 REPAIRS COST ESTIMATED RM20 Mln to RM70 MlnPROJECT COST RM120Million; SHOCKING REVEALATION by PAC Chairman Datuk Shahrir; and the "faceless" people at Bumi Highway

Get complete protection against viruses, worms and Trojan horse programs – CA Anti-Virus 2008! Click here for cheap hotels
This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from Multidimid. Make your own badge here.
Blogroll Me!

Your email address:

Powered by FeedBlitz

Add to Google Add to Google