Musical fountain: Yong says her concerns vindicated by Auditor General’s Report, MACC investigating

Yong showing the findings in the AGR.

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KUCHING, Dec 9: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has opened an investigation file into the RM31.89 million musical fountain built in front of the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) complex.

Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong said as far as she is concerned, MACC is investigating the matter after she had raised the issue during the DUN sittings in Nov 2018 and April this year.

Speaking to reporters at a press conference today, Yong said that the points she has been repeatedly voicing out was more or less confirmed in the second series of the Auditor General’s Report (AGR) for 2018.

“Today, I would like to let the public know that the infamous Darul Hana Musical Fountain was a project proposed by a private company called [main contractor]. As a matter of fact, the project was never in the RMK-11 list nor budgeted for in the state budget 2018. It was an impromptu budget whisked through in a high handed fast track manner.

“According to the AGR 2018 report, the project was proposed on Feb 27, 2018. Approval was given one month later on March 29. It took only 36 days for the project to be submitted, evaluated and awarded,” she asserted.

Citing the report, Yong revealed that the company has zero experience in building musical fountains and waterscapes.

The design and built project costing RM31.89 million was then sub-contracted to two companies.

She also alleged that these two companies are registered under one address.

“My point here is that the state government had not only accepted the proposal from an inexperienced company, but allowed the job to be awarded based on design and built basis. It is common knowledge that a contractor proposing any design and built projects must be well versed in the type of project, but this is not the case for (the main contractor),” she added.

Rubbing more salt on the wound, Yong said the first and second interim payment of RM14.12 million paid by Kuching North City Hall (DBKU) to the main contractor is already equivalent to 44 per cent of the total contract sum.

Meanwhile, the AGR 2018 report also revealed that the main contractor has failed to submit supervision and monthly progress reports certified by the project consultant as required and mentioned in the contract agreement.

When queried, DBKU said the supervision report was the same as the monthly report and failed to address why they accepted a report that was not certified by consultants as required.

The salinity and salt content in Sungai Sarawak also requires that the equipment used is anti-rust. The contractor alleged they had installed equipment and parts such as pipes, nozzle sprays, water screen generator, flange and others which are anti-rust but without the manufacturer’s warranty nor confirmation that they are anti-rust.

According to the AGR, less than four months after the handover, a visit by the audit department on Jan 5, 2019 revealed that parts of the fountain are rusting.

Instead of replacing these rusty parts with new ones supported by the manufacturer’s warranty, the main contractor chose to paint the rusty areas over with anti-rust paint as remedy.

“What will happen to the fountain after the two-year defect liability period by the contractor is over? Is the rakyat going to foot the bill because DBKU has failed to be stringent in its contract management?,” Yong asked, adding that the liability period will end on Oct 17, 2020.

According to Yong, the AGR stated a number of items that the contractor did was not in accordance to the built drawings.

She said she had emphasised that the discrepancies in the building works was only discovered upon inspection conducted by the AG’s department in Jan this year.

“How on earth can the contractor get the certificate of practical completion (CPC) issued in Oct 2018? Does that mean if the AG did not conduct inspection and ensure that rectification and remedial works are carried out, then (the main contractor) would have gotten off scot free?” Yong questioned.

In this respect, she has called for the state government to blacklist the contractor and consultants in the name of accountability and for MACC to thoroughly investigate because of the suspicious manner the project has been handled from the proposal stage to issuance of CPC. — DayakDaily