By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, Nov 12: Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department (Integrity and Ombudsman) Datuk Talib Zulpilip’s (PBB-Jepak) explanation on the cost of the controversial musical fountain was challenged by Violet Yong (DAP-Pending) in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) today.
In his winding-up speech, the minister tried to explain the procedures and the reasons why the musical fountain cost RM31 million.
Talib told the august House the project was implemented through Design and Build and had followed the standard operating procedure (SOP) of Kuching North City Hall (DBKU) and Regulation 221 Part VII Local Authorities Financial Regulations 1997.
In addition, the cost of the project was checked and approved by a ‘Special Cost Committee’ chaired by the State Financial Secretary. The scope of the contract also involved two years of maintenance cost and five years of design guarantee, he said.
“The musical fountain project was very complex and needed special expertise. It is operating using up-to-date technology, with pontoons of width 100 metres and 372 special nozzles that eject water to form a central spray fountain of 60 metres and a cascade fountain of 25 metres.
“It has also been equipped with other unique criteria such as the formation of water wall of 9 metres and 80 metres long as the backdrop of the fountain. The water reservoirs are designed with special tiles, giving a natural touch to the fountain. In addition, it comes with a water screen for visual audio shows.
“The project also involves the construction of a waterfront walkway, computerized control room, electric sub-station, light system as well as sound and landscape decoration,” said Talib.
He said the Songs of the Sea Musical Fountain in Singapore, which was opened to the public in 2007, costs RM91 million, while the Dubai Fountain, which was built in 2009, cost RM910 million.
“And this was the cost of building and technology 10 years ago, which by now, would be much higher,” said Talib.
Talib, however, was challenged by Yong, who pointed out that the cost was too high and that there should be open tender instead of direct negotiation. To her, there was something “wrong” there.
“Yes, you cannot confirm, so that means there is a direct ‘nego’. So, something is very wrong here. So, your Ombudsman, your department, is not doing anything about it,” said Yong.
On the other hand, she said the fountain was not as good as the one in Dubai.
“You say it’s high-tech, but I don’t see the music, the water and the lights (being) synchronised. You go listen yourself. I even went there myself last night to listen again.
“They don’t synchronise with each other and there is no fire effect, and the one mentioned, in Dubai, there is fire effect in the fountain, but not here,” said Yong.
On this, Talib explained that there was no open tender because it was a specialised and complex job and stressed that the process of awarding the contract had been thorough. — DayakDaily