Friday, August 8, 2014

So Tony Pua what have you got to say?

Messy it is, but surely not everything is Khalid’s fault 
Selangor DAP chairman Tony Pua was a panellist at the forum “Krisis Selangor: Pakatan Rakyat Berpecah” on Aug 5 with three others. The event, organised by Kelab Bangsar Utama, was in short a Khalid Ibrahim bashing session although it was publicised as a platform to explain why the Selangor menteri besar must go.
Pua focused on the promises that Pakatan Rakyat had made but could not deliver. Media reports have shown some of Selangor’s stunning highlights, yet had failed to deliver any tangible results, according to Pua.
He highlighted the state government’s lacklustre performances and attributed that to Khalid’s faltering leadership.
But the DAP man perhaps went too far in putting all the blame on Khalid as some of the issues he highlighted were under the direct jurisdiction of other executive councillors.
While the menteri besar is the state’s chief executive, surely executive councillors have to also shoulder the blame if something goes wrong. That is why executive councillors are appointed – to help the MB run the state.  
Theantdaily takes a critical look at four projects that Pua had highlighted to determine if their failures are purely Khalid’s fault.
Summary: The Klang river cleaning project was a deal signed with three companies – TSS-Mako Engineering Sdn Bhd, GJA Engineering and Construction and Wessex Water I-Bhd Consortium – in 2010 to embark on an ambitious plan to clean up the polluted river. It was a project worth RM50 billion spanning 15 to 20 years of upgrades and redevelopment of the river.
Progress: The project was expected to kick off two months after the agreement was signed back in 2010, but Pua cited the latest media report of Nov 8, 2013 whereby Khalid said the project was to commence in March this year, but has yet to take off.
True or False: True. Khalid was quoted as saying in Selangorkini in November 2013 that the clean-up will only start after the completion of the River of Life project initiated by Kuala Lumpur City Hall which covers some 110km of the Klang River from the upper parts of Kuala Lumpur. He had promised that the clean-up would begin this year.
Verdict: It is difficult to determine if the project was postponed due to delays by the state administration or the other stakeholders involved. But a four-year gap between the signing of the agreement and the commencement of the actual clean-up of the river does not spell “efficiency” in Khalid’s administration.
Summary: The federal government has allocated about RM500 million to the state government for road maintenance as part of the Malaysia Road Records Information System (Marris), whether for filling up potholes or road resurfacing. These funds are supposed to be channelled to all 12 local councils in Selangor by the state government to conduct repairs annually based on the number of roads they have in their jurisdiction, as well as the state agencies in charge of roads. This practice has been going on for more than 30 years.
Progress: Pua said the Auditor-General’s report between 2010 and 2012 stated that the state government had received as much as RM1.1 billion but the Selangor government only managed to spend RM640 million with the excess money going into state development funds. As of April 2014, the RM500 million received this year has yet to be spent.
True or False: Partially true. While it is difficult to dispute the hard numbers presented by the Auditor-General’s report, state exco for infrastructure and public amenities Dr Ahmad Yunus Hairi said the state government had only recently drawn up a proper guideline for the respective authorities to apply for Marris in April this year. He was quoted as saying that with the guideline, proper planning and disbursement of funds can be done.
Verdict: Khalid’s administration did the right thing by drawing up proper guidelines to ensure there is no abuse of funds. Therefore, more time is needed to determine if the funds distributed under the new guidelines will enable local councils to perform better.
Summary: Pua alleged that the Ampang Jaya Muncipal Council (MPAJ) has been without a president (YDP) for a while. The local council is now run by acting president Abd Hamid Hussein, after its former chief Datuk Mohamad Yaakob was transferred to the Klang Municipal Council.
Progress: Since the transfer of Mohamad Yaakob in September 2013, no new appointment has been made, other than rumours that deputy mayor of Petaling Jaya City Council Puasa Mohd Taib could be appointed to head MPAJ.
True or False: False. All local council presidents in Selangor are civil servants whose appointments and promotions are under the purview of the Public Services Department (PSD). Hence, it is the responsibility of the federal government to appoint new heads of council. However, the state government and the state exco in charge of local government can give advice and suggestions but the final decision is still for PSD to make.
Summary: Pua alleged that the Selangor government has failed to realise the integrated pig farm project costing RM100 million. The integrated pig farm was proposed as a solution in 2008, a state-of-the-art facility that was to be built and set up in Tumbuk Estate, Sepang. It was to centralise pig-rearing in the state to better control the hazards connected to pig farming.
Progress: As of 2011, the then state agriculture committee chairman Yaakob Sapari announced that the integrated pig farm project was cancelled following protests from the residents, and the pig farmers do not really receive the news well. An alternative plan was to introduce effective micro-technology to counter the pollution and stench emanating from the pig farms.
True or False: False. If the project was cancelled as early as 2011, following strong reactions by residents in Sepang for fear of pollution and spreading of disease, and not well received by the farmers, the failure to realise the project should not be blamed on Khalid. The state government acted according to the reactions from the people at large.
CONCLUSION: Pua was both right and wrong with the issues he brought up. But if it was his intention to put the blame squarely on Khalid for the failures of these projects, then he was wrong. It is unfair to point the finger at the MB alone. Running Selangor should be the collective responsibility of the party in power – not one man.

Cindi Loo

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Biggest heist in the world

With such promising career how not to tumble down like a rolling stone.