MBPP, contractor, engineers and DOSH named as responsible in fatal Penang landslide


https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/02/14/landslide-report-blames-contractor-mbpp-and-dosh/?jwsource=cl

Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman, who is the committee chairman, said the MBPP as the owner of the project had failed in its overall responsibility to supervise the project despite having appointed Jurutera Perunding GEA as representative of the superintendent officer. NSTP/MIKAIL ONG

MBPP among four named as responsible in fatal Penang landslide

GEORGE TOWN: Four parties have been identified as being responsible for the fatal landslide at the construction site of the paired road at Jalan Bukit Kukus last October incident, including the Penang Island City Council (MBPP).

A special investigation committee set up by the Penang government following the fatal landslide at the construction site also named the other three parties, namely the contractor Yuta Maju Sdn Bhd, the consultant, Jurutera Perunding GEA (M) Sdn Bhd and the independent checking engineer G&P Professional Sdn Bhd.

Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman, who is the committee chairman, said the MBPP as the owner of the project had failed in its overall responsibility to supervise the project despite having appointed Jurutera Perunding GEA as representative of the superintendent officer.

“By appointing Jurutera Perunding GEA, it does not mean that the council is free from responsibilities to ensure the success of the project from all aspects.

“As such, any actions to be taken against the council will depend on the outcome of investigations by the police, the Department of Occupational Safety and Heath (DOSH) and the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) into the incident,” he said when making public findings of the investigation committee.

Ahmad Zakiyuddin said as for Yuta Maju, it had failed to ensure satisfactory mitigation works at the project site, and that the temporary slope constructed at the project site was not endorsed or designed by accredited consultants, which was a violation of the Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) guidelines.

“It also failed to ensure site safety by removing the empty containers at the project site, where nine bodies were recovered,” he added.

As for Jurutera Perunding GEA, Ahmad Zakiyuddin said the party had failed to ensure that the contractor abide by the guidelines set out by the BEM, while G&P Professional had failed to abide by the job scope given by the council.

“Following our findings, we have recommended that the contractor, consultant and independent checking engineer be blacklisted from any tender consideration for projects in the future.

“That said, they will still have to continue their works for the paired road project, until the project completion, slated for May next year,” he added.

The landslide at the Bukit Kukus paired roads project site on Oct 19 last year killed nine site workers and left four others injured.

The search and rescue (SAR) operation was called off after five days. The project’s stop-work orders, separately issued by DOSH, CIDB and the council, were lifted up recently.

Ahmad Zakiyuddin said the special investigation committee also identified 10 main factors which had contributed the to fatal landslide, particularly not fully adopting best practices in construction work.

Other factors included:

* heavy rain on the morning of the incident at 55mm

* the contractor was unable to enter the project site to carry out mitigation works as stop-work order was issued by DOSH two days prior to the incident following a worksite accident

* unsafe construction processes

* failure to recognise the significance of an earlier incident (falling beams at another part of the project site two days prior to the landslide);

* lack of supervision

* failure to identify risk due to the change of process

* lack of comprehensive inspection and testing

* failure in risk communication

* poor management of sub-contractors.

Asked on why the services of the contractor, consultant and independent checking engineer were not immediately terminated following the incident, Ahmad Zakiyuddin said from what he understood, the stop-work orders issued on the three were only for one part of the project and not the entire project.

“Also, there was no record of safety issues prior to the landslide,” he said.

He called on efforts to protect the remaining part of the project as a resu

lt of a negative perception.

“Any delay will put the project at greater risks.”

To another question if the special investigation committee’s findings would be made public, he there had been no plans to do so as the report served as a guideline for the state. – By Audrey Dermawan, NST >

‘MBPP hired resident engineer for Bukit Kukus project’

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang Island City Council (MBPP) appointed a resident engineer and an independent checking engineer even before the start of the Bukit Kukus paired road project, says Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.

“If you see the action taken by MBPP, they understand their technical insufficiency in terms of a geotechnical engineer. That’s why in the contract, they required the main contractor to appoint a resident engineer, who was paid by MBPP to monitor the project on MBPP’s behalf.

“The independent checking engineers were also paid by MBPP. So, it was a measure taken by MBPP even before the start of the project, knowing that this is a big project.

“They did not have the capacity to monitor the project as they have only two or three engineers who have to be looking at other matters besides this project.

“So, they took action to appoint a resident engineer as well as independent checking enginners to act on behalf of MBPP,” he told reporters at the Penang Development Corp­oration Chinese New Year celebration at the PDC office in Bayan Lepas yesterday.

Chow also said the state would wait for the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) report first.

“We will leave it to DOSH’s findings. Let DOSH come out with the report and we will take the necessary action after that,” he said.

Asked if MBPP had to bear necessary compensation for families of the victims of the landslide last October, Chow said MBPP had not received any claim so far.

Chow was asked to respond to the Con­sumers Association of Penang’s (CAP) call for stern action to be taken against the wrongdoers responsible for the tragedy.

CAP president S.M. Mohamed Idris in a statement yesterday said: “While we welcome the investigation committee’s findings as to who is responsible for the tragedy, we are concerned that apart from recommending the blacklisting of the contractor, consultant and independent checking engineer from any tender consideration for future projects, it appears that no further stern action has been recommended.

“In particular, we want to know what action will be taken against MBPP,” he said.

Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Ahmad Zaki­yuddin Abdul Rahman, who headed the investigation panel, was reported yesterday as saying that MBPP and other parties involved in the construction of the Jalan Bukit Kukus paired road project had not adhered to construction and engineering best practices.

Meanwhile, MBPP acknowledged responsibility for the Bukit Kukus landslide tragedy as it is the council’s project.

MBPP mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang said the council was not pushing away any responsibility or negative comments on the council and project, and that it would be taken seriously. – By Cavina Lim and Intan Amalina Mohd Ali, The Star

Penang landslide report blames contractor, MBPP and DOSH

The special investigative panel report on the Bukit Kukus landslide had not been made public, but excerpts of the findings were made available by the state.

However, it has raised more questions than answers as the state blamed the contractor, Penang Island City Council (MBPP) and the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH).

In an immediate response, DOSH Penang director Jaafar Leman denied the department was to be blamed for the landslide.

“We were not even invited to be part of the investigative panel to give our views. How could we be blamed?” he asked.

According to the statement by Deputy Chief Minister 1 Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman who headed the investigative panel, the stop-work order on Oct 17 prevented contractors from entering the site to do maintenance works.

As a result, the temporary toe drain overflowed and water was retained on the reclaimed land contributing to the collapse of the slopes.

“How could a stop order which was issued on Oct 17 contribute to the landslide which occurred on Oct 19?” asked Jaafar.

He said the slopes would have been risky from the beginning as the contractor did not do any mitigation works to strengthen them and it does not make sense to blame DOSH.

The stop-work order was issued on Oct 17 after 14 beams fell in a ravine.

Earlier, during a press conference, Ahmad Zakiyuddin said MBPP and other parties involved in the construction of the Jalan Bukit Kukus paired roads project, had not adhered to construction and engineering best practices.

“The landslide was caused by many factors, which included a temporary construction of a platform to place machinery which was not constructed properly. The temporary platform was created to allow heavy vehicles lift beams for the paired road project.

“MBPP, as owners of the project, had failed to ensure all the hired parties carried out their job.

“MBPP had failed to hire a professional engineer for temporary works to design and supervise the site,” he said yesterday.

Ahmad Zakiyuddin said another factor was the downpour in the morning of the day of the landslide.- The Star

Related News

Kudos to Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin for holding the four parties accountable for the Bukit Kukus landslide tragedy. The inquiry still begs a lot of questions, e.g. why was the contract given to Yuta Maju from Terengganu? Could the accident have been prevented if a proper EIA was done? It is not just a “bureaucratic hurdle” but supposed to identify risks and advise mitigation. If the authorities wish to go on with the project, it is not too late to commissi
See more

“This is no simple incident as nine deaths resulted from it. Very stern action must be taken against the MBPP, and that includes strong disciplinary action against the mayor and officers responsible.

“Otherwise, it will be business-as-usual in the MBPP as the officers will be allowed to go scot-free with impunity.

Fake Awards Scam for Penang Island City Council, Seberang Perai Municipal Council !

Dubious honours: (Above) Former Penang Island City Council mayor Patahiyah  Ismail with the trophy and certificate for Best Municipal Manager awards in 2013 while her Seberang Prai counterpart Maimunah (pictured here with the Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and his aide Wong Hon Wai) received the same latter award in 2014
Advertisements

Integrity should be no compromise! Malu apa, bro! Queries over credentials, Wee presses on quizzing Lim


Weighing in: (Clockwise from top left) Ramon, Marina, Hassan, Anas and  Marimuthu
‘There should be no compromise on integrity’

Honesty and integrity should take centre stage in the debate that is swirling over the legitimacy of certain university degrees of politicians.

Asli’s Centre for Public Policy Studies chairman Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam said good political leaders need not be graduates but some academic credentials would be an asset to them.

“What we need are politicians with keen critical thinking, dedication and sincerity to serve the rakyat,” he said yesterday.

Ramon said that politicians who had “cheated” should confess and let the people decide if they still want them to carry on serving or quit their posts.

Several politicians have come under fire after their academic qualifications were questioned by the public.

Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Marzuki Yahya found himself in hot water following the controversy over his “Cambridge University” degree.

Others included Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu, Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin, Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian and Perak state executive councillor Paul Yong Choo Kiong.

Several Barisan Nasional leaders too had their qualifications scrutinised in the past. Among them were former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot.

Former UiTM vice-chancellor Emeritus Prof Datuk Dr Hassan Said said in other countries, leaders would have been asked to resign or they would voluntarily quit if they were found using dubious credentials.

“Honesty and integrity values are more important to those who are dealing with public trust and responsibility.

“The nation will collapse if its leaders are not honest or have integrity,” he said.

Educationist Prof Tan Sri Dr T. Marimuthu said politicians must come clean about their academic credentials as they are serving the public.

“Otherwise, how else can you serve the people?

“If you ask someone to write your thesis for you or use dubious ways to earn your credentials, you are just being dishonest to yourself and the public,” he said.

Moderation advocate Anas Zubedy concurred, saying that there should be no compromise when it comes to leadership and integrity.

“No matter how brilliant, knowledgeable or successful you are, a lack of integrity disqualifies any and all talent for any leadership position. We must check their track record for any propensity to lie, practise double standards, or to say one thing and do the other.

“New Malaysia must not compromise on integrity,” he said.

Writer and social activist Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir said it was better to own up in not possessing a degree than to pretend to have one.

“No, it’s not a crime nor is it essential to serve in the government but it’s a matter of trust. If you can misrepresent this, what else can you misrepresent?” she asked.

G25 group of eminent Malays said it is best to be honest about one’s academic credentials so that doubts are not raised on their integrity.

“A politician who lies about his personal details to win an election or get a ministerial position will raise doubts about his integrity. He will also create a bad image for the government and the country,” it said in a statement.

Najib asked whether it was the national news agency Bernama or officers of the ministers that had misrepresented the academic credentials of Pakatan Harapan ministers.

“But what is more strange is that the false news that the ministers were graduates came from the biodata published from Bernama in its infographics and was spread when they were appointed as ministers about nine months ago.

“As far as I know, normally Bernama would request the biodata from the special aides or the press secretaries of ministers when they are appointed to be published in its reports,” he said on Facebook.

Reports by Star team: TARRANCE TAN, HEMANANTHANI SIVANANDAM, RAHIMY RAHIM, NURBAITI HAMDAN, RASHVINJEET S.BEDI and SARBAN SINGH

Malu apa, bro!

WE seem to be heading towards a dangerous edge. There is now an emerging culture of shamelessness.

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak may have been slapped with countless charges of corruption and money laundering, but his campaign, Malu apa, bossku (“Why the shame, boss?” in Bahasa Malaysia), has surprisingly attracted millions of likes on social media.

The scandal-smeared former prime minister has traded in his tailored suits, impeccable English and political elite-aristocratic crowd for the Mat Rempit and Malay working class.

As part of his makeover, he is now decked in black parka, black jeans and black sneakers.

He is even hanging out with the young Mat Rempit and posting wefies with them. He is also happily showing off a black-and-red Yamaha Y15ZR 150cc moped that is all the rage with the youths of today.

And the registration plate on his bike is 8055KU, which insinuates “BOSSKU”, and to these newfound supporters, Najib is called Boss kita! (Our Boss.)

The key phrase here is Malu apa bossku, and while many learned Malaysians are cringing over this new culture, it barely seems wrong for our embattled former PM, who is basking in it and promoting the malaise.

But a similar show is also surfacing on the other side of the political divide.

One Pakatan Harapan leader after another is having his or her dubious education credentials exposed after Deputy Foreign Minister Marzuki Yahya was questioned over his.

Johor Mentri Besar Osman Sapian’s education history has come under the spotlight with the allegation that he didn’t obtain a degree from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), as claimed.

Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin’s social science degree from the National University of Singapore (NUS), as reported when she became a minister, has also come into question. Now, she’s washed her hands of ever having had one.

DAP Assemblyman from Tronoh Paul Yong Choo Kiong claimed to have a masters in business administration from Akamai University – an alleged degree mill in Hawaii – among his academic qualifications.

None of these politicians have apologised for not correcting these errors when they were revealed, but now, they have conveniently shrugged off the news reports, claiming no knowledge of such revelations.

Worse, Marzuki passed the buck to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, saying it is now up to his boss to decide. The Johor MB chose to remain silent, hoping that the storm would blow over.

The central issue here isn’t whether an elected representative should have a tertiary education – the point here is, should we put our trust in anyone who lies to themselves?

If some of these individuals buy dubious online diplomas, they are only cheating themselves. Worse, the electorate has also fallen for this charade hook, line and sinker.

Instead of working hard, like most university students, these individuals apparently chose the easy way out. Are we expected to believe them when they talk about accountability and integrity from now on?

What’s worse is, most Pakatan leaders have chosen to look the other way or have lamely justified these dishonest transgressions.

If they were in the private sector, the sack would be a foregone conclusion, but then they are “Yang Berhormat”, despite these dishonourable acts.

Apa nak malu, YB! Aku ada SPM aje, bro!

And of course, that’s not the end. PAS leaders have found themselves in unfamiliar waters.

With their turbans and goatees, they like to appear pious and holier than thou. However, they are now seeing their names flying on social media, associated with a taste for sports cars and bikes, and not just under their names, but those of their children and spouses.

A report filed with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over allegations of PAS leaders getting RM90mil from Umno under the previous administration involved “a list of expensive cars”, properties, high-powered motorcycles and “the purchase of number plates at exorbitant prices”, it has been widely reported.

According to the report, several PAS leaders were accused of using these funds to acquire the cars and properties.

The cars include BMW, Mini Cooper, Toyota Vellfire, Range Rover, Porsche Cayman, Audi Q7, Audi A6, Toyota Camry, Toyota Fortuner, Volkswagen Passat, Mercedes Benz, and a BMW motorcycle, according to a report.

“As for the properties, this includes a bungalow in Bangi worth RM3mil,” says a report. The only item missing is camel ownership.

PAS Mursyidul Am (spiritual leader) Datuk Hashim Jasin has admitted to owning a Porsche Cayman, but said his son was the real owner, who was entitled to an Approved Permit (AP) when he served as the Arau MP between 1998 and 1999.

Every one of them has branded these accusations as part of some grand political conspiracy, pleading innocence and insisting they are virginal and pure instead.

But we are sure they will be okay, and they will continue to preach accountability and transparency, and possibly continue to look – invoking race, religion and God – to their faithful followers, who will readily give away their savings and, brave the rain and scorching sun to support them.

Malu Apa Bossku? Tatap Sokong Boss (as the Sabahans will say).

by Wong Chun Wai

 

Queries over credentials

 

DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER DATUK MARZUKI YAHYA

It was reported by Bernama that Marzuki pursued a Bachelor’s degree in business administration, majoring in logistics via a long-distance learning programme at the University of Cambridge.

Response: “When I was asked by the media, I clearly said that I was from Cambridge International University (CIU) in US and not the University of Cambridge in UK.”

FINANCE MINISTER LIM GUAN ENG

MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong questioned Lim’s credential as a qualified professional accountant

Response: Lim’s political secretary Tony Pua rebutted the allegations by producing Lim’s degree certificate from Monash University, Australia on April 11, 1984, together with a copy of his “Certificate of Membership” in the Australian Society of Accountants dated Feb 21, 1984.

DEFENCE MINISTER MOHAMAD SABU

Accused of faking a degree in culinary arts.

Response: “Some people say I have a degree in culinary arts. I never said that. Truth is, I never completed my studies at UiTM. They kicked me out.”

But Mohamad was quick to add that despite this, he was still a “good cook”.

HOUSING AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT MINISTER ZURAIDA KAMARUDDIN

A Twitter user claimed he could not find her name on the National University of Singapore’s online degree verification portal.

Response: “I have never claimed or held myself to be a graduate of NUS and I have never authorised anyone else to do so,” she said.

JOHOR MENTRI BESAR DATUK OSMAN SAPIAN

A Facebook page questioned the validity of his UPM Bachelor in Accounting obtained in 1985.
Response: He has yet to comment on the matter.

TRONOH ASSEMBLYMAN PAUL YONG CHOO KIONG

Yong was questioned over his Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Akamai University, United States by MCA’s Dr Wee.

Response: Yong said he felt calm and had nothing much to comment as his certificate is real and he had a convocation 16 years ago.

“My main interest now is to do the best for my voters,” said Yong.

FORMER PRIME MINISTER DATUK SERI NAJIB TUN RAZAK

DAP highlighted a video circulating online alleging that Najib never completed his studies at UK’s Nottingham University in the 70s.

Response: “Of course my degree is legitimate.”

FORMER HUMAN RESOURCES MINISTER DATUK SERI RICHARD RIOT

Riot was questioned in 2013 over his Bachelor of Business Administration from the Chartered Insitute of Business Administration (Ireland) and a Masters in Business Administration from Preston University in the United States.

Response: “As (former) prime minister, he (Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak) has used his wisdom to find out whether I am fit to be a minister, and that includes my academic qualification, by tasking me to be in charge of the human resources portfolio, which is a very a challenging ministry with 13 agencies.

“There is a difference between fake degree and qualifications from unrecognised universities. I worked very hard for it because I believe in life-long learning”, he said.

Wee presses on quizzing Lim

Wee: No evidence showing that Lim ever worked in any accounting firms.
Wee: No evidence showing that Lim ever worked in any accounting firms.

KUALA LUMPUR: Despite threats of being sued, MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong continues to raise questions on Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s credentials as an accountant.

Dr Wee said that “Lim is far from even being a certified or a chartered accountant”.

The Ayer Hitam MP, while referring to documents released by Lim’s political secretary Tony Pua yesterday, pointed out that Lim’s membership into the Australian Society of Accountants on Feb 21, 1984, merely stated that he was admitted as a provisional member.

A provisional membership, Dr Wee said, was one of the steps required to enrol into programme modules and examination in order to qualify as an accountant, and to qualify for a full membership into the Australian Society of Accoun­tants.

Therefore, a provisional membership is far from being a fully certified chartered accountant or even an accountant.

“You cannot call yourself using either designation,” said Dr Wee in a Facebook posting yesterday.

The Australian Society of Accoun­tants is now known as CPA Australia (Certified Practicing Accountant).

Checks online showed that a full membership is only awarded to individuals if they have successfully passed the CPA examination – which also requires a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a year of supervised working experience under a CPA licence holder.

At the same time, Dr Wee, in the same Facebook posting, pointed out that Lim was quoted by news portal MalaysiaKini in a report on March 2012 as saying that he was a failed accountant and had spent less than a week in an accounting firm in Malaysia before he was sacked.

Dr Wee said there was no evidence showing that Lim ever worked in any accounting firms, or having enrolled for any necessary education requirements to qualify as a certified accountant or a chartered accountant.

“In fact, online checks with the Malaysian Institute of Accoun­tants (MIA) does not show Lim as being a member.

“In Malaysia, you cannot misrepresent yourself as an accountant unless you are a member of MIA.

“It is a criminal offence under Section 25(e) of the Accountants Act 1967 for any individual or organisation to call himself or herself an accountant unless he or she is registered with the MIA,” said Dr Wee.

At the same time, Dr Wee said that a report by New Straits Times in June 2018 also pointed out that Lim had claimed to be a former accountant.

Meanwhile, Dr Wee also said that DAP’s website had misrepresented Lim as a certified accountant.

“Neither MCA nor myself have any interest in pursuing this matter any further as the declining economy right now is a more important issue to address.

“We leave it to DAP and the rakyat to judge if a legal offence has been committed,” said Dr Wee.

Lim’s qualification in accounting is the latest to come under scrutiny after a series of alleged false education credentials involving Pakatan Harapan leaders, including Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Marzuki Yahya, Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian and Tronoh assemblyman Paul Yong Choo Kiong. – The Star.

Related:

Guan Eng mulls legal action against naysayers  

https://youtu.be/s6nOmgkJXx4

Integrity at stake – Letters

 

Related posts:

Under scrutiny: A photo of the Cambridge International University and logo taken from its website. https://youtu.be/x90SmWqP2V4 ..

 

Integrity should be no compromise! Malu apa, bro! Queries over credentials, Wee presses on quizzing Lim


 

Weighing in: (Clockwise from top left) Ramon, Marina, Hassan, Anas and Marimuthu

Better to buy a car or a house first?


Given a choice, would you prefer to get a loan to buy an item that depreciates over a short period which is deemed as “bad debt” or commit on a “good debt”, which is to purchase a house or asset that will appreciate in the long term?

A car used to be a symbol of freedom and ease of mobility. I could understand the dilemma of having to choose between a house and a car a decade ago.

Even then, we should still have chosen a car within our means to manage our financial position.

Today, with public transportation and the availability of ride-sharing services such as Grab Car, we can now really have the option of buying a house first. This gives us both shelter and value appreciation.

This choice has just been made easier with Budget 2019 and the recent announcement by the Finance Ministry.

The government has rolled out several measures to assist homebuyers, including stamp duty exemptions.

Homebuyers will get a stamp duty waiver for memorandum of transfer (MoT) for the purchase of houses priced up to RM1mil, during the six-month Home Ownership Campaign (HOC) from January to June 2019. In addition, the stamp duty on loan documentation is fully waived up to RM2.5mil.

Besides that, the Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (Rehda) has also agreed to cut the prices of its completed and incoming units by at least 10%.

When I talk to potential homebuyers, they always ask about the right time to own property.

There is no perfect time to buy a house on foresight. If the price is within your means, and you plan to buy it for own stay or as a long-term investment, then anytime is a good time.

However, with the property market at the bottom half of the cycle now, this could be a good time to commit to a house with the attractive tax incentives rolled out by the government.

Homebuyers can grab the “duty-free” opportunity now to explore the property market. Those living in the Klang Valley will be able to find their dream home during the Homeownership Campaign Expo at the KLCC Convention Centre from March 1-3.

The campaign is jointly organised by Rehda and the Housing and Local Government Ministry. Besides having all developers under one roof, the ministry will also be featuring homes under RM300,000 by PR1MA, SPNB, PNB and others.

The Homeownership Campaign was first held in 1998 to lessen the burden of homebuyers and to encourage homeownership. It is re-introduced after two decades now with the same objective.

For homebuyers who don’t like the risk of buying a house under construction, there are plenty of completed units for sale in the campaign.

Buying a house can be emotional and uncertain for many homebuyers. However, in the long run, we can rest assured that we are buying an asset that will appreciate.

For homebuyers, always buy within your means as you can upgrade your house in the later stage of your life.

In this auspicious Chinese New Year, I hope you decide to prioritise a new house over a new car. Gong Xi Fa Cai!

By Alan Tong . . . Food for Thought

Datuk Alan Tong has over 50 years of experience in property development. He was the World President of FIABCI International for 2005/2006 and awarded the Property Man of the Year 2010 at FIABCI Malaysia Property Award. He is also the group chairman of Bukit Kiara Properties. For feedback, please email bkp@bukitkiara.com
Related posts:

Good time to invest in property now

 

Leaving a legacy by buying a house first before a luxury car …

 

Rich Gen-Y kids making their own success

 

Housing affordability is an income issue, what’s with the fuss?

 

Penang property prices move sideways in Q1 2016

 

Penang properties: security for homeseekers, location for foreigners, increased value for investors

Malaysian property market correction to continue in 2016, its economic cycles the past 25 years

 

Too good to be true? Think twice

 

If it’s too good to be true, something’s wrong

When will the property market pick up?

 

Young adults in developed countries rent, we buy houses for good

While young adults all over the world are renting homes, successful
Malaysians and Singaporeans prefer to own homes instead of cars, as soon
as they get their first pay cheque.

Instead of blowing their cash on pricey gadgets, young Malaysians are saving up for their first home.

Penang Star Property Fair at Queensbay Mall 2016

Developers all smiles with results

 

 

Where does the money go?

 

Putting our house in order

 

Lessons from Penang affordable housing

‘Degree and awards-buying show poor character and stand to lose credibility’


Under scrutiny: A photo of the Cambridge International University and logo taken from its website.

https://content.jwplatform.com/players/MHCRopSi-dBiC3tzP.html https://youtu.be/x90SmWqP2V4

Politicians having degrees and certificates from questionable higher learning institutions make for bad optics and show poor character, say political analysts.

However, many do it to raise social standing or to win over the masses.

Universiti Malaya law lecturer Assoc Prof Dr Azmi Sharom said that knowingly getting degrees from dubious institutions displayed a lack of confidence in oneself and a lack of good character.

Dr Azmi: ‘Maybe the politicians feel the need to justify their intelligence to the public by having some sort of degree.’
Dr Azmi: ‘Maybe the politicians feel the need to justify their intelligence to the public by having some sort of degree.’

“To actually purchase your degree from these places, then to show off about it, for me it’s not a crime but a sign of poor character.

“Maybe the politicians feel the need to justify their intelligence to the public by having some sort of degree,” said Dr Azmi.

He was commenting on remarks by Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Marzuki Yahya who said his degree was from the Cambridge International University in the United States, after previously saying he had a degree from the University of Cambridge.

Dr Azmi said he did not believe that Marzuki should lose his job over this matter but that it was done in poor form, adding that people cared more about politicians holding public office doing their job well rather than what certificates they possessed.

“It’s not necessary to have a degree to be a politician, but it would inspire confidence in the public if ministers were academically qualified in the field that they were working on.

“For example, the current minister in charge of environment (Energy, Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin) is very qualified in her field and it is very reassuring to know that,” he said.

However, Dr Azmi added that having a degree for a minister was not a “be all and end all” as they could still learn on the job.

Universiti Sains Malaysia political analyst Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian said politicians buy dubious degrees because they felt that this was important to boost confidence and trust among the masses.

Prof Sivamurugan: ‘Some who are interested to become politicians feel it’s a disadvantage without a higher education.’
Prof Sivamurugan: ‘Some who are interested to become politicians feel it’s a  disadvantage without a higher education.’

“Some quarters of the public think they will be served better by having lawmakers with education credentials.

“In fact, some who are interested to become politicians feel it’s a disadvantage without a higher education.

“For those who don’t have one, they are willing to go to the extent of finding a dubious degree without realising the consequences in this new information world,” he said.

Prof Sivamurugan believed that politicians with dubious degrees should come clean or voluntarily resign to avoid further damaging the party’s image as the new Malaysia was about integrity.

“However, Marzuki’s case must not be politicised and his party must give him a chance to defend himself,” he added.

In 2017, there were suggestions to the Higher Education Ministry to vet lawmakers with fake credentials, said Prof Sivamurugan, adding that it showed that this was nothing new in Malaysian politics.

UiTM Sabah political science lecturer Mohd Rahezzal Shah said the people will question future decisions made by Marzuki as well as his character and integrity if it was proven that he knowingly bought a certificate from a degree mill.

“If knowing full well that these institutions are degree mills, yet they still get degrees from these places, then it really shows their characters.

“People will judge him (Marzuki) based on that and they will judge his judgment as a leader in the future,” said Rahezzal.

Marzuki, who is also a senator and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s secretary-general, also stood to lose credibility if he claimed that he did not know that the Cambridge International University was a degree mill as a simple Google search would have raised a lot of questions, said Rahezzal.

“As a deputy minister, he is involved in decision-making processes everyday. If he can’t even get the facts right for his degree then he will lose credibility,” said Rahezzal.

He added that many of those who have in the past been caught with dubious degrees were from among prominent businessmen and politicians who wanted to raise their social standing.

“They need to have degrees from foreign countries and the easiest way is to buy them,” he said. The Star

Profile photos of faculty members in question

Under scrutiny: A photo of the Cambridge International University and logo taken from its website.
Under scrutiny: A photo of the Cambridge International University and logo taken from its website.

Checks on the US-based Cambridge International University from which Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Marzuki Yahya obtained his degree in business administration have raised more questions on its legitimacy.

The faculty members on the website listed one “associate professor”, Dr Patricia Powell, whose profile picture bears the watermark of international online dating site AnastasiaDate that predominantly features East European women.

The profile pictures used for five other women in the adjunct faculty members’ list also looked suspiciously like that of fashion models.

One “Mrs Josephine Fernandens” posed with a pout against a green backdrop while a “Dr Teressa Jane Bright” had bare shoulders and eye makeup fit for the runway.

Other faculty and adjunct faculty members also bore suspiciously low resolution profile pictures.

Attempts by The Star to email multiple faculty and adjunct faculty members for clarification failed when the mail delivery subsystem noted that these email addresses could not be found or the server was unable to receive mail.

The response from the remote server read: “550 No Such User Here”.

With 150 programmes offered, the institution, which claimed to have existed since 1990, only had 12 faculty members and only 13 adjunct faculty members listed on the website.

A Google search on the names of each faculty and adjunct faculty member turned up nothing, neither a LinkedIn profile nor research papers published under them.

Marzuki, who previously said he had a degree from the University of Cambridge pursued through a distance learning programme, admitted on Wednesday that his degree was actually from the Cambridge International University in the United States.

Since that admission, the institution has come under intense scrutiny and increasing suspicion that it is a “diploma mill” that awards degrees with little or no study.

According to higher learning websites, indicators that an institution may be a diploma mill: it is not accredited; doesn’t have a physical address or location listed on the website; admissions entirely depend on a valid Visa or MasterCard; and the website not having an (.edu) web domain.

On its website, Cambridge International University admits it has not been accredited by an accrediting agency recognised by the US Secretary of Education, adding that “accreditation is a strictly voluntary option in the US”.

“There is no mandate by federal law for a school, college or university to be accredited. Many good schools are not accredited,” it said.

There was also no physical address or location of the institution’s office listed on the website, which also does not have the (.edu) domain.

Cambridge International University has no affiliation with the prestigious University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

The US-based institution only offers “distance learning” programmes with degree courses costing as low as US$5,000 (about RM20,000) with fees payable via PayPal. Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/02/08/profile-photos-of-faculty-members-in-question/#0QSzO6Txyv7Bz2zo.99

Fake documents grounds for dismissal – Letters

The truth about false CVs – Business News

 

Marzuki looks to Dr M to save him from scandal – Analysis 

No decision yet on the issue, says Dr Mahathir

Related posts:

Fake Awards Scam for Penang Island City Council, Seberang Perai Municipal Council !

Malaysian Public varsities, companies, GLC execs also recipients of EBA fake awards

>>>> ” 90% of the Doctorates held by Malays is not worth the toilet paper on which it is printed because it was all prod…

New anti-graft plan after slew of scandals


PUTRAJAYA: Amid the slew of financial scandals seen since the change in regime last year, such as the ones involving 1Malaysia Development Bhd, Lembaga Tabung Haji and the Federal Land Development Authority, the Pakatan Harapan government yesterday launched a five-year action plan to stem similar misdeeds in the future.

During his opening speech, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad pointed to the previous National Integrity Plan introduced in 2004, aimed at inculcating a culture of integrity among the people, which he said did not really help in curbing corruption.

“In fact, the problem became worse between the time the plan was introduced and a few years ago when the country was perceived as a kleptocracy, a very shameful label, which means that the government was being led by the corrupt and thieves that exploited the country and its people’s resources for personal gain,” said Dr Mahathir.

“While the new government has taken action to bring the corrupt to justice, subsequent measures need to be taken to ensure the widespread culture of bribery and corruption does not continue. This is the context in which the National Anti-Corruption Plan (NACP) has been created,” he said.

In formulating the plan, the government assessed various data, including reviews by the United Nations Convention against Corruption, global anti-corruption models, corruption perception surveys, data from various government agencies, input from stakeholders and the public and recommendations from other entities such as Asean Development Bank and Transparency International Malaysia.

The NACP outlines 115 initiatives to be implemented by 2023, as the government looks to root out corruption over the next five years.

The plan is largely focused on the public sector, in line with the findings from surveys by Transparency International and the Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption Centre (GIACC), which found that about half of Malaysian respondents perceive lawmakers, government officials, local councillors, tax collectors and police officers as the most involved in corruption.

Meanwhile, 23% of respondents said they had bribed public officials in public schools, hospitals, utilities services, the police force and courts over the course of a year, while the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission highlighted that 63.3% of corruption complaints involve the public sector.

“It can be said that the civil service is a segment that is exposed to bribery, especially those that are involved in the delivery of public service and procurement. A study found that civil servants have a lack of understanding of bribery.

“We hope that the NACP can improve the image and quality of public service as well as the perception of the people towards the civil service,” said Chief Secretary to the Government Datuk Seri Dr Ismail Bakar.

Key initiatives to be implemented

Out of the 115 initiatives, the plan highlighted 22 priority initiatives aimed at addressing six key areas where corruption is rampant, namely in political governance, public-sector administration, public procurement, legal and judicial, law enforcement and corporate governance.

Under political governance, the government intends to introduce new legislation on governing political funding which will include an offence on lobbying as well as to implement a proper asset declaration system for members of the administration and members of parliament.

Other initiatives include a better policy on acceptance of gifts and the prohibition of the issuance of supporting letters by members of the administration or any highly influential persons for any projects or applications.

To address issues in public-sector administration, the government’s plans include the strengthening of the mechanism in enforcing mandatory job rotation for public servants holding sensitive posts and the management of the involvement of senior government officials as directors and chief executive officers of all state-owned enterprises and statutory bodies.

A transparent guideline on the appointment of special officers, political, private and media secretaries for ministers and deputy ministers will also be implemented.

In terms of procurement, the NACP seeks to ensure that all departments and regulators execute projects based on the advice and recommendation of technical departments such as the Public Works Department and to create accountability and transparency in defining the powers of a minister in legal provisions.

For the legal and judicial system, the government wants to promote a clear separation of powers and impartiality, such as the separation of the powers of the attorney-general and the public prosecutor, as well as to prioritise for corruption cases to be handled by judges and public prosecutors who are experienced in such cases.

In terms of law enforcement, the key initiatives include the integration of relevant agencies to improve border control and the transformation of the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission into the Independent Police Complaints and Misconducts Commission to address integrity issues among the members of the Royal Malaysia Police.

All of these initiatives are expected to be implemented within one to five years’ time with the GIACC acting as the secretariat, evaluating the yearly performance and effectiveness of the initiatives.

The NACP’s 22 key initiatives


Political governance

1. New legislation on governing political funding

2. A proper asset declaration system for members of the administration and parliament

3. Policy improvement on acceptance of gifts, entertainment and payment by members of the administration

4. Prohibition of supporting letter issuances for projects or applications

5. Introduction of a prime minister’s directive in governing demarcation of power between ministers and secretaries-general

6. Policy on appointing politicians as chairpersons or members as directors of statutory bodies, state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and government established companies limited by guarantee (CLBGs) based strictly on academic and professional qualifications

Public sector administration

7. Strengthening the mechanism to enforce mandatory job rotation for public servants holding sensitive posts

8. Managing the involvement and appointment of senior government officials as directors and CEOs in all SOEs and statutory bodies

9. Strengthening the process of integrity vetting for public officials holding positions with high risk or responsibility

10. Introduction of a guideline on appointment of special officers and political, private and media secretaries for ministers and deputy ministers

11. Governing the power of any highly influential person on local authority performance and decision-making

Public procurement

12. Ensuring all client departments and regulators execute projects based on the recommendation of technical departments

13. Creating accountability and transparency in defining the power of ministers as stipulated in legal provisions, especially in procurement and the financial system

14. Introduction of standard clauses in undertakings of project procurement to protect the government’s interest in projects and contracts

Legal and judicial

15. Promoting clear separation of powers and impartiality

16. Prioritisation for corruption cases to be handled by judges and public prosecutors who are trained or experienced in such cases


Law enforcement

17. Integration of relevant agencies for better border control

18. Improving the existing foreign workers’ centralised management system

19. Transforming the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) into the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to address misconducts among members of the Royal Malaysia Police

20. Introduction of a new provision in the MACC Act for offences against any commercial organisation or person selling off a government project or tender to another party for monetary gains without undertaking the project or tender

Corporate governance

21. Introduction of the integrity vetting requirement as a selection criterion of top management positions in statutory bodies, SOEs and CLBGs

22. Imposition of a conditional approach on the purpose and utilisation of funds provided by the government to all statutory bodies, SOEs and CLBGs

Source: National Anti-Corruption Plan 2019-2023

 

Related posts:

Malaysia’s Corruption Perception Index worsen seven rungs

 

Najib is guilty of incompetence, he says: board to be blamed for 1MDB debacle, not me, I don’t know !

Huge Civil Service Size, Attractive Emoluments and Benefits are costing Malaysia !

Corruptions, Conflict of interests, politicians and Malaysian bloated civil service

Ministers may face conflict of interest, says Tunku Abdul Aziz: 

“If you have no power, you cannot abuse it. Civil servants have a lot more power than their political masters and ministers”

 

‘With a population of 31 million, Malaysia has a ratio of one civil servant to almost 20 people.

‘To compare, the news report cited corresponding figures for several other countries: Singapore (1 to 71 people), Indonesia (1:110), South Korea (1:50), China (1:108), Japan (1:28), Russia (1:84) and Britain (1:118).’

To keep graft in check, politicians should not be appointed to run government-linked companies, said Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission advisory board chairman Tunku Abdul Aziz Tunku Ibrahim (pic).

He said politicians holding GLC positions may face conflict of interest leading to abuse of power and responsibility.

In an interview with Bernama, he said: “Many appointments are made for political reasons. If you are appointed to a position with unanimous power, there are decisions you have to make on a daily basis, weekly, monthly and whatever.

“And in making these decisions, there will be some demands made on you because of your connections, your relatives, your friends and also your cronies.”

Tunku Abdul Aziz said this trend of abusing power because of conflict of interest has been happening since long ago, and may be stopped if the appointment for a top post in a GLC was conducted with “proper selection and screening”.

Tunku Abdul Aziz said the selection process must include going through the candidate’s background and track record.

He said there were always people out there who wanted special treatment, to have the advantage over their competitors.

“They don’t care how it is done (as long as they get the job)… This is where corruption starts.”

Tunku Abdul Aziz said that proper recruitment procedures and techniques could help achieve transparency and accountability, which are essential for top management.

“We can make corruption unprofitable business by making it more difficult to put your hand in the till.”

He believes that corruption is now taking place at the operating level.

“Ministers cannot sign or award contracts. But directors in some departments can do it. This is where abuse of power takes place,” he said.

“If you have no power, you cannot abuse it. Civil servants have a lot more power than their political masters and ministers (in awarding contracts),” he said.

He noted that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission was now catching a lot more “big fish” than before the appointment of Datuk Dzulkifli Ahmad as the new head in July last year.

Tunku Abdul Aziz said MACC was a dedicated highly professional team focusing on the root causes of corruption while catching the crooks.

— BERNAMA

 

Time to trim the civil service

FINALLY, the Government has itself described the civil service as bloated.

To his credit, Second Finance Minister Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani openly and honestly stated that the civil service, although bloated, will not be reduced but will instead be made to multi-task to improve productivity. This statement is serious but also worrisome.

We now have one civil servant serving 19.37 people. The ratio is 1:110 for Indonesia, 1:108 for China, and 1:50 for South Korea. We won’t compare ourselves to the low ratio of 1:71.4 in Singapore because it’s a small island with hardly any rural population.

But why is our civil service so bloated? Firstly, we recruited rapidly to give jobs to the boys when the output from the education system expanded. We even had an “Isi Penuh” programme at one time. That is we rushed to create jobs and filled them fast!

Secondly, unlike the private sector, we rarely retrench staff even in bad times. We hardly sack anyone for inefficiency and even wastage of public funds.

Thirdly, the civil service has become a sacred cow that has to be handled gingerly for fear of reaction against the federal and state governments at the ballot box!

Life is relatively comfortable especially at the lower levels of the civil service. Salaries are better than before, pensions are secure, health provisions are generous, and the drive to be more productive is soft. In fact, there is now a strong manja-manja attitude towards civil servants.

The demand to join the civil service is high but the supply of jobs is slowing down considerably.

The Government should decide to reduce the size of the civil service to prevent the strain on the budget deficits, especially in the future.

Salary and pension bills are going up whereas productivity is not publicly perceived to be improving. Those who deal with civil servants often tell us more about the undue delays, corruption and “tidak apa” or lackadaisical attitude shown on the ground towards the public.

The Government should appoint a high-level task force, if not a royal commission, to examine ways and means of trimming the civil service to an efficient and reasonable size.

To start with, the Government should revise its stand on not reducing “the 1.6 million strong bloated civil service.” If it finds it difficult to reduce the civil service, then please freeze recruitment or make it more sparing and definitely more selective. Please go for more quality rather than quantity!

The civil service is huge because the public sector has been designed to be inordinately large. This has evolved because the private sector has been denied and deprived of greater opportunities to serve the public.

There are many government services, facilities and works and supplies that can be provided more efficiently by the business sector. In fact, this could be the way forward for more bumiputra contractors and other races to participate more actively and competitively to serve our society better.

The cost of maintaining the civil service, at RM74bil in 2016 for salaries and allowances, is not sustainable.

The pension bill of RM19bil per annum, without any contribution to the GDP by retirees, is also unbearable in the longer term. At the same time, according to Johari, revenue from palm oil and other commodities have been falling drastically. So where do we go from here?

It is basic economic and financial logic that we cannot afford to cope with rising salary expenditure and lower revenue. It is much more difficult to raise revenue than to cut expenditure.

The Government has said that our fundamentals are strong. Indeed, they are reasonably healthy at this time. But at this rate of a growing civil service that is now acknowledged as bloated, we cannot afford to assume that the economic and financial fundamentals can continue to be strong for much longer.

My appeal then is for Government to more actively seek to reduce the size of the civil service and to act without undue delay. Our good economic fundamentals are being seriously threatened and we must preserve and protect them from further risks.

TAN SRI RAMON NAVARATNAM , Chairman Asli Center of Public Policy Studies

An effective civil service does not burden Govt

Civil Servants

IN a recent interview with a vernacular newspaper, Second Finance Minister Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani brought up a matter that is seldom highlighted publicly – the size of the Malaysian public sector.

He said the country’s 1.6 million government employees formed “the world’s largest proportion of civil service”.

With a population of 31 million, Malaysia has a ratio of one civil servant to almost 20 people.

To compare, the news report cited corresponding figures for several other countries: Singapore (1 to 71 people), Indonesia (1:110), South Korea (1:50), China (1:108), Japan (1:28), Russia (1:84) and Britain (1:118).

Johari was making the point that a major challenge for the Government was the rising costs of running the public service system.

This is particularly tough when there is a decline in the taxes and other receipts collected from the oil and gas and palm oil industries.

However, he added that there were no plans to reduce the civil service head count.

The minister has won praise for bringing attention to an issue that many have long felt deserves public awareness and discussion.

Emoluments are by far the biggest component of the Government’s operating expenditure, and that cost has kept expanding.

Back in 2006, emoluments totalling RM28.5bil made up 26.5% of the operating expenditure. A decade later, the percentage is estimated to be 35.7%. To pay its employees this year, the Government has allocated RM77.4bil, which is 36% of the budgeted operating expenditure.

And let us not forget the retired civil servants. According to the Public Services Department, there were 739,000 public service pensioners in 2015, and every year, 23,000 people join this group.

In 2010, the Government spent RM11.5bil on pensions and gratuities, accounting for 7.6% of the operating expenditure. In the Budget 2017, retirement charges will come to RM21.8bil, about 10% of operating expenditure.

Although Johari did not appear to use the phrase in the interview, others were quick to talk about the “bloated civil service”.

It should be pointed out that measuring and comparing the sizes of the public sector can be tricky and misleading. There are different ways of defining a civil servant. And the width and depth of a public service system is very much determined by the country’s prosperity and policies.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development looks at public sector employment as a percentage of total employment. In 2013, the average among its members was slightly above 19%.

In Malaysia, civil servants represent 10.8% of our labour force. Perhaps, the public sector is not bloated after all.

On the other hand, we must bear in mind that the number of government employees is growing faster than the country’s labour force.

But we cannot discuss quantity and ignore quality. The issue here is not about how large our public service system is; it is whether the system is larger than necessary.

No matter how big, the numbers make sense if they yield excellent results and lead to robust revenue growth.

At a time when the Government is pushing hard in areas such as innovation, productivity and good governance, the civil service ought to lead by example.

There are already ongoing efforts to transform public service in Malaysia and surely the hope is that these initiatives will result in greater transparency and accountability, enhanced competitiveness, and a high-performance culture,

What is also absolutely clear to us is that the Government’s financial obligations are increasingly heavy, and much of this has to do with the emoluments and pensions it pays.

It is realistic to expect the Government to be more prudent in its hiring of new employees. It cannot afford to be the country’s default employer and young people are wrong to blame the Government if there are no civil service vacancies for them to fill.

The public sector’s primary role is to serve the country’s needs effectively and efficiently. It cannot do that if it is a burden to the Government and ultimately the people. -The Star Says

Related:

Man charged with taking RM80k bribe – Nation | The Star Online

Related posts:

MACC deputy chief commissioner (prevention) Datuk Shamshun Baharin Mohd Jamil MACC reveals ‘worrying statistics’ KUALA LUMPUR…

Jan 14, 2017 Fighting corruption a decade later: Wars on graft widens. “Power doesn’t corrupt people, people corrupt power.” William Gaddis. THE beginning …

Bloated civil sevice in Malaysia must cut down the size and salaries

Oct 25, 2016 The Malaysian government can make further spending cuts if it reduces the size of its “bloatedcivil service, an economist said. File picture …

brief diagram comparing the role of civil serv...

Bloated civil sevice in Malaysia must cut down the size and salaries 

  Malaysia world’s No.1 highest civil servants-to-population ratio! Its tenure of service legally vulnerable but notoriously difficult to dismiss 

Apr 5, 2016 Now, it has been proven that the administrative capital of Putrajaya has the … Evidently, obesity is manifested in the abdominal fat around the …

Apr 6, 2016 So if both the US and Malaysian Governments couldn’t stem the fat tide in their respective countries, who can? … Putrajaya the obese-city!

Bloated civil sevice in Malaysia must cut down the size and salaries

 
The Malaysian government can make further spending cuts if it reduces the size of its “bloated” civil service, an economist said. File picture shows Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi meeting civil servants during a Workers’ Day gathering in Penang. May 5, 2015. — Picture by KE Ooi: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/economist-putrajaya-can-tighten-spending-further-by-trimming-bloated-civil

Economist says there is need to cut down further on emoluments

<< Rosario: ‘The size of the Malaysian civil service is that there are five civil servants for every 100 people.’

KUALA LUMPUR: The government has to eventually deal with the issue of the bloated civil service to avoid repercussions later on, said Deutsche Bank’s economist Diana Rose del Rosario.

“Operating expenditure accounts for at least 80% of total expenditure (in the budget) and a big part of it comes from emoluments which account for 26% of total operating expenditure,” Rosario said at the Budgetary Priorities in a Challenging Economic Environment forum hereyesterday.

“The government has actually already tightened spending in this area: it used to grow around 10% year on year between 2010 and 2014. Growth here has since fallen to 5% year on year in 2016 to 2017.

“Success has been there in terms of tightening this area but there remains a great need to (further) cut down on emoluments,” she added.

Rosario said that the bloated size of the civil service in the country is much higher than the average in the Asean region.

“The size of the Malaysian civil service is that there are five civil servants for every 100 people. This is a lot higher than the average in the civil service of the rest of the region with an (average) of around two for every 100 people,” she said.

“There is an urgent need for this government if it continues in the path of fiscal consolidation to strive for a lean and efficient public service,” she added.

Rosario also said that there may be some “upward pressure” from debt service payments under the emoluments section of the expenditure as interest rates are poised to rise due to the stance taken by the US Federal Reserve.

Meanwhile, she also said that the retirement pension charges that are poised to rise by 15% next year should be looked at from a wider perspective.

“Although we are not worried that it is driven by a surge in retirees, but if you look at the pace of growth in the younger population the labour force as projected by the United Nations – the younger ones are expected to decelerate at a sustained deceleration in the next five years,” she said.

“This does not bode well for tax collection or domestic demand. There is a need then to boost wages through a boost in productivity to facilitate domestic demand and tax collections,” Rosario said.

At the same event, secretary-general of the Treasury Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar said contingent liabilities by the government are backed by sound assets and companies.

“There may be some pressure by contingent liabilities by the government but those entities that the government provides guarantees for are all strong and credible ones which can pay off their dues.

For example, Khazanah Nasional Bhd, Prasarana and MRTcorp (have borrowed) for their big capital items,” he said.

“Although there is pressure but there is no worry in terms of default,” Irwan said.

Commenting also on the issue on jobless graduates and productivity, Irwan said that universities in Malaysia should supply manpower for what is needed for the industries in Malaysia.

“Some of the industries are too reliant on foreign workers.

“We can’t change this overnight and we need more technology here. We should not have universities which do not provide for certain industries that are in demand,” he said.

Source: The Star/Asia News Network

Bloated Malaysia Civil Service Presents Headache for Najib

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak. Photographer: Mohd Rasfan/AFP via Getty Images

Public workforce large relative to other Asian peers

Civil servants indispensable support base for Najib’s party

Malaysian Nor Mohamad loved her job with a major Western tech company. But she gave it up after two years, tired of bickering with her parents who felt she’d be better off in the public service.

“It’s boring but stable,” said the master’s degree holder, who is in her thirties and asked not to be fully identified, citing government policy. “Even though I’m not so in love with the job, I’m thankful that in this economic situation there’s no bad impact to my career.”

Malaysia’s civil service employs 1.6 million people, or about 11 percent of the labor force. The jobs provide stability and security, including for ethnic Malays who are the majority of the population. Now the bloated bureaucracy presents a challenge to Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Najib, whose ruling coalition Barisan Nasional has been in power for nearly 60 years with the help of the Malay vote, has pledged to gradually narrow a budget deficit the country has been running since the Asian financial crisis. The commodity-driven $296-billion economy is expected to grow at the slowest pace in seven years in 2016, with lower oil prices eating into revenue.

But trimming the public workforce to improve the government’s coffers is difficult. While Najib has survived a year of political turmoil over funding scandals, he needs the support of Malays to win the next election due by 2018. His party, the United Malays National Organisation, has for decades propagated policies that provide favorable access to education, jobs and housing for Malays and indigenous people, known collectively as Bumiputeras.

“The civil service in Malaysia is intricately jived in with the ethnic policies” of the government, said Jayant Menon, an economist at the Asian Development Bank. “This is a form of ensuring not just employment, but relatively attractive employment.”

About 79 percent of the civil service was made up of Malays as of the end of 2014, with over 11 percent from indigenous Bumiputera groups, the official Bernama news agency reported in March 2015, citing a government minister. About 5.2 percent of public servants were Chinese and 4.1 percent were Indian.

Malaysia’s civil service relative to population is large, at more than double the average in the Asia-Pacific region by some measures, according to Menon. The cost of maintaining it is draining resources at a time government revenues are falling.

Salaries, pensions and gratuities account for about a third of the budget every year, the biggest expenditure item. The government doesn’t regularly publish data on the size of the public service.

Najib has weathered a year of graft allegations over hundreds of millions of dollars that appeared in his personal bank accounts before the last election in 2013, with the claims putting some pressure on his leadership. He denies wrongdoing and was cleared by the country’s attorney-general earlier this year.

Najib’s office didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking comment on the civil service. The office of the chief secretary to the government also did not reply to an e-mailed request for comment.

Malaysian officials have previously defended the size of the civil service, which includes teachers, doctors, soldiers and police. Idris Jala, then-minister in the Prime Minister’s office, said in 2014 that it wasn’t bloated even though it could be made more efficient to save the government money.

Najib’s government spent 1.1 billion ringgit ($275 million) to raise salaries for civil servants last month — the biggest rise since 2013 — and increased their minimum starting pay to 1,200 ringgit a month. Like in previous years, public employees received a 500 ringgit special allowance just before the Eid al-Fitr holidays in July, a celebration marking the end of the Muslim fasting month.

‘Support Base’

“The civil service forms an important support base for the government and can usually be counted upon to show up and vote for the ruling party during elections,” said Chia Shuhui, an Asia analyst at BMI Research in Singapore. “The government is not going to cut benefits to their support base, and therefore it is unlikely to make significant changes in terms of its expenditure on the civil service.”

The government has been taking steps to streamline the civil service and improve the efficiency of the public sector as part of its long-term efforts, Chia said.

Given that nothing much could be done to the civil service because of political and ethnic sensitivities, the government should focus on cutting its business exposure through the government-linked corporation divestment program to increase revenue, the ADB’s Menon said.

While UMNO has worked to retain Malay voters, the opposition has also sought to support the bureaucracy. The opposition-controlled Selangor state government pledged a 1.5 month bonus to its civil servants to mark Eid.

In neighboring Thailand, the ruling junta gave the nation’s two million civil servants and soldiers a four percent salary increase in December 2014 at an expected cost of 22.9 billion baht ($659 million). Many civil servants took part in anti-government protests that led to the May 2014 military coup and the junta has since emphasized the need to give bureaucrats greater power over elected officials.

“Civil servants are indeed an indispensable support base for Barisan Nasional in general and UMNO specifically,” said Oh Ei Sun, a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. “Hence the need to constantly improve their welfare.”

By Pooi Koon Chong Bloomberg

Related posts:

Malaysia’s Budget 2017 Highlights

Apr 5, 2016 Now, it has been proven that the administrative capital of Putrajaya has the … Evidently, obesity is manifested in the abdominal fat around the …

Apr 6, 2016 So if both the US and Malaysian Governments couldn’t stem the fat tide in their respective countries, who can? … Putrajaya the obese-city!

Malaysia world’s No.1 highest civil servants-to-population ratio! Its tenure of service legally vulnerable but notoriously difficult to dismiss!

Call on the Government to downsize the country’s bloated civil service

Sheriff: ‘Government bureaucracy has grown so big that it’s not only taking up too much resources but creating many failures in our finance economy

KUALA LUMPUR: One of Malaysia’s former top civil servants has called on the Government to consider downsizing the country’s bloated civil service, while it still can.

Malaysia has the highest civil servants to population ratio in the Asia-Pacific, employing 1.6 million people or 11% of the country’s labour force.

And that could be a problem Malaysia may not be able to sustain if it runs into a financial crisis, said Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Mohd Kassim, the former Finance Ministry secretary-general and Economic Planning Unit director-general.

He said if the Government was really set on keeping the national deficit at 3%, it needed to look at retrenching employees, particularly in the lower levels of the civil service, to cut spending.

“Government bureaucracy has grown so big that it’s not only taking up too much resources but creating many failures in our finance economy. There are just too many rules and regulations that the public and private sector have to live with,” he told a delegation of economists, politicians and government officials at the Malaysian Economic Association’s forum on public sector governance.

He advised Malaysia to begin downsizing the civil service, “better sooner than later” if it wanted to avoid running the risk of falling into a Greece-like crisis, where the European country had to cut salaries and was unable to pay pensions for its civil service.

Drawing examples from the recent Malaysia Airlines restructuring, where 6,000 people were retrenched, Mohd Sheriff said it was better to let staff go now and compensate them with retrenchment packages while the Government can still afford it.

“It may cost the Government a heavy expenditure now but it is worthwhile to do it now while we can still afford it and not until we are forced into a financial crisis like Greece.

“We don’t want to be in that situation. I think we should do it gradually. It is kinder to do it now with incentives than to suddenly cut their salaries and pensions at a time when they can least afford it,” he said.

Malaysia is expected to spend RM76bil in salaries and allowances for the civil service this year, on top of another RM21bil for pensions. Efficiency and corruption dominated talks on the civil service at the forum, held at Bank Negara’s Sasana Kijang.

Mohd Sheriff, who is also former president of the Malaysian Economic Association, said these issues have been around since his time in the civil service decades ago though not much has changed due to a lack of political will.

In jest, he suggested Malaysia emulate United States President Donald Trump’s idea on downsizing the US civil service by closing down two departments of the Government if it wanted to open another one.

He also suggested that Parliament create a committee to monitor the performance of top civil servants and give them the ability to retrench these officers if they fail to meet their marks.

“In many countries, even Indonesia, they have committees to hold Government leaders to any shortcomings on policy implementations and projects.

“These are the kinds of checks and balance we need to make our civil servants aware that they are being monitored for their work and they can be pulled out at any time,” he said.

Finance Minister II Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani had said Malaysia’s ratio of civil servants is one to 19.37 civilians and that the high number of Government staff had caused expenditures to balloon yearly.

As a comparison, the ratio in Indonesia is 1:110, in China it is 1:108, in Singapore it’s 1:71.4 and in South Korea the ratio is 1:50.

Despite this, Johari said there were no plans to reduce the number of civil servants.

By Nicholas Ccheng The Star

Related posts:

Ministers may face conflict of interest, says Tunku Abdul Aziz:  “If you have no power, you cannot abuse it. Civil servants hav…

Bloated civil sevice in Malaysia must cut down the size and salaries

Oct 25, 2016 The Malaysian government can make further spending cuts if it reduces the size of its “bloatedcivil service, an economist said. File picture …

brief diagram comparing the role of civil serv...

Bloated civil sevice in Malaysia must cut down the size and salaries 
  Malaysia world’s No.1 highest civil servants-to-population ratio! Its tenure of service legally vulnerable but notoriously difficult to dismiss 

Apr 5, 2016 Now, it has been proven that the administrative capital of Putrajaya has the … Evidently, obesity is manifested in the abdominal fat around the …


Apr 6, 2016 So if both the US and Malaysian Governments couldn’t stem the fat tide in their respective countries, who can? … Putrajaya the obese-city!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

New Malaysia’s civil servants must keep it civil of multi-racialism !

Brave new world: The civil service needs to get used to the New Malaysia approach while our ministers need to snap out of the Opposition mode and get down to work.

Wake Up Malaysian Civil Servants: Duty Beckons

by dinobeano

August 16, 2018 Wake Up Malaysian Civil Servants: Duty Beckons by Dr Amar-Singh HSS http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com These Civil Servants pledge to feather their own nest We need to get rid of the culture of censuring those in the civil service who speak up when they see wrong being done. I found the courage to write this […]

Keeping it civil: The civil service makes up the backbone of any nation, yet the concept of its implementation continues to elude some of the powers that be.

IT’S often said that ministers come and go, but civil servants stay forever. And the good old government machinery runs as before, a fact some of our new ministers will probably be clued into by now.

Ministers who have no experience at state government level may have pre-conceived notions of the privileges they enjoy, like unlimited authority and knowing what they decree would suffice to overrule the bureaucrats.

And that is the biggest mistake they could make as newcomers to Putrajaya, because nothing exemplifies shooting oneself in the foot more than putting down civil servants – they run the ministries, after all.

Making its rounds on the grapevine these days is how some ministers put down their secretaries-general at meetings, believing they know better, or quite possibly, that they can do a better job at improving the performance of their charges.

Some of our ministers were probably not born when British sitcom Yes, Minister (which later became Yes, Prime Minister) aired on BBC Two, and on RTM, from 1980 to 1984.

Set principally in the private office of a British Cabinet Minister in the fictional Department of Administrative Affairs in Whitehall, it follows the ministerial career of the Right Honourable Jim Hacker.

In it, he attempts, or rather, struggles to formulate and enact laws or effect departmental changes and meets with resistance from the civil service, in particularly his Permanent Secretary Sir Humphrey Appleby.

The obstructions (sabotages, some would say) were often carried out so deftly that the minister would often rarely know what hit him or possess a trail of evidence to prove insubordination.

In fact, the delays (such as total rejection of policy) were cited to impress upon the minster that the shenanigans were for the benefit of his political mileage.

But of course, the sitcom was totally fictional and in real life, not all civil servants could get away like that.

Respected banker and commentator Tan Sri Dr Munir Majid wrote that Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had put together a Cabinet with a mix of races and genders, and a range of ages, which is unprecedented in the political governance of our country. However, except for a handful of ministers, the Cabinet falls short on experience.

Dr Munir urged Pakatan ministers to get out of “Opposition mode” so they can function and deliver with all the advice and support available.

“They would need to get the government machinery – the civil service – to implement their decisions effectively.

“Here, there is another problem. The largely Malay civil service is not used to having political masters committed to a multi-racial Malaysia and a no-nonsense regime,” he wrote.

That simply means our ministers, who have been used to merely delivering fiery speeches, now need to roll up their sleeves and get down to work and show the fruits of their labour. They can only blame the ills and corruption of the previous government to an extent.

A few ministers, and even the Attorney-General Tommy Thomas, must now grapple with all the documents being in Bahasa Malaysia, unlike in the private sector where the medium of communication is English.

Their staff would most likely be entirely Malay, except for their aides, who are political appointees. Directives would be issued in an entirely different way, obviously reflected by the work culture and style of communication.

That is just how the civil service works, so, they simply need get used to it. Of course, stories of all this being a culture shock for some have surfaced recently.

Dr Munir reminded that “there is still some way to go to arrive at a New Malaysia in terms of multi-racialism. After two generations of ‘Malay First’ and subsequently ‘Malay and Muslim First’ political ethic, there is a mountain to climb to make it New Malaysia.”

The reality is that about 75% of the Malay electorate in GE14 voted for Umno or PAS, in comparison to 95% of the Chinese voters who voted for Pakatan Harapan (an increase from the 85% who supported the now-defunct Pakatan Rakyat coalition in 2013). About 70% – 75% of Indians voted for PH, the figures show.

It has been reported that only 25% – 30% of Malays voted for PH, according to figures from Merdeka Centre. Apparently, 35% – 40% of Malays voted for Barisan Nasional while 30% – 33% supported PAS.

The findings displayed that although a higher percentage of Malays voted for Pakatan Harapan in Johor and in west coast states such as Melaka and Negri Sembilan, the coalition’s overall Malay support was diminished by its weak performance in Kelantan and Terengganu.

It’s no secret that as the new government reaches its 100-day mark, some ministers are still struggling to assemble their offices.

It’s just as well that some have yet to meet the press or make statements, because they are still learning to juggle the workload as others continue their scramble to find the ideal personnel.

The job has been so overwhelming that they have been unable to meet their key officers to solidify plans and directions.

With no appointments in sight, some staff are wondering if they are being snubbed, or simply that the ministers are too busy with other engagements. It doesn’t help that they don’t even reply messages.

But the civil service needs to accept that this is New Malaysia. There is no turning back. The culture of openness, accountability, engagement and success must take centre stage, with any form of prejudice left by the wayside.

The strategy of using race and religion to stir emotions seems hollow now.

Millions of ringgit were stolen from the people by those in power, and as the facts have revealed, they weren’t Chinese, Indians or Christians, contrary to what these politicians still want the Malays to believe.

And certainly, the civil servants who sniffed out the moral decay under their very noses knew exactly what was happening.

Clean, trustworthy and competent ministers, and a loyal, non-corrupt and efficient civil service will make Malaysia great.

After all, as the saying goes, it doesn’t matter what colour the cat is, as long it catches the mice.

In this context, what’s important is surely them being good Malaysians.

Wong Chun Wai

Wong Chun Wai

Wong Chun Wai began his career as a journalist in Penang, and has served The Star for over 27 years in various capacities and roles. He is now the group’s managing director/chief executive officer and formerly the group chief editor.

On The Beat made its debut on Feb 23 1997 and Chun Wai has penned the column weekly without a break, except for the occasional press holiday when the paper was not published. In May 2011, a compilation of selected articles of On The Beat was published as a book and launched in conjunction with his 50th birthday. Chun Wai also comments on current issues in The Star

Related posts:

Huge Civil Service Size, Attractive Emoluments and Benefits are costing Malaysia !

.

Call on the Government to downsize the country’s bloated civil service

Bloated civil sevice in Malaysia must cut down the size and salaries

 

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) needs strong finishing

Arrest decline in productivity and competitiveness in Malaysia

Landslide nation, Malaysia ranks highly for landslides


We’re a country with the 10th highest number of landslides in the world. Heavy rainfall and rugged topography are the reasons – but these are secondary. The main cause is man-made.

 

Malaysia among countries especially prone to landslides

Malaysia sits among the top 10 countries that had a high number of landslides over the past decade.

According to data from the US National Aeronautics Space Administration (Nasa), Malaysia had 171 landslides between 2007 and March 2016, making the country ranked the 10th highest in frequency of landslides.

Ranked first is the United States (2,992), followed by India (1,265) and China (426).

Titled the Global Landslide Catalog (GLC), the one-of-its-kind dataset was compiled based on online and media reports, and scientific journals since 2007.

The Star analysed the dataset and found that the number of landslides have been increasing in Malaysia, almost with each year, reaching a peak of 33 occurrences in 2014.

On average, in the past 10 years, Malaysia experienced 18.5 landslides annually.

The high number of landslides means that Malaysia ranked 5th for landslides per square kilometre among countries that have a land area greater than 100,000sq km.

Nepal is the country with the highest number of landslides per square kilometre, followed by the Philippines, Britain and Guate­mala.

Most of Malaysia’s landslides occur between October and January, which coincides with the months with the highest rainfall. This is according to data on average monthly rainfall between 1991 and 2015 from the World Bank.

Sabah leads with the most number of landslides (42), followed by Kuala Lumpur (26), Sarawak (25), Selangor (22) and Penang (14).

Latitude and longitude data point towards certain areas that landslides commonly occur. These include Ranau in Sabah, Ringlet in Cameron Highlands, Bukit Antarabangsa in Selangor and Tanjung Bungah in Penang.

Nasa’s satellite view showed that most landslide occurrences in Malaysia are packed around the peninsula’s west coast, and Sabah and Sarawak.

Hardly any red dots could be seen in the Kalimantan region, south of Sabah and Sara­wak, which could indicate that the landslides are caused by over-development.

Based on Nasa’s GLC website, since 2007, it has recorded some 10,000 landslides around the world, leading to more than 20,000 deaths, mostly in South-East Asia.

Data on Malaysia showed that most landslide fatalities are in Kuala Lumpur (18), followed by Pahang (17) and Selangor (eight).

The GLC project, first published in 2010, was to provide scientists with a dataset to analyse how, why and where landslides are likely to occur.

It remains the largest publicly available repository of global landslides.

According to the Meteorological Department, the country will be experiencing the northeast monsoon until the end of March, with heavy rains forecast along the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, eastern Johor and Pahang.

A higher than average rainfall level of between 250mm and 350mm is also forecast for certain places in Sabah such as Kudat and Sandakan. In Sarawak, Kuching, Samarahan, Bintulu and Kapit are forecast to receive an average rainfall level that exceeds 500mm.

‘Main cause is man-made’

Malay­sia’s rugged topography and high rainfall coupled with human activities are behind the country being among the top 10 countries with the most number of landslides.

Institute of Geology spokesman Ng Chak Soon said Nasa’s data was correct.

“This is due to a combination of natural factors and human activities. Natural factors comprise periods of high rainfall and rugged topography while human activities relate to the cutting of slopes,” he said in an interview.

Asked if the high frequency could also be due to the type of soil in Malaysia, Ng said this was true only for Sabah such as in Ranau.

“Sabahan soil seems to have a high percentage of expandable clay which absorbs more water and expands more when wet. It shrinks when dry,” he said, adding that earthquakes were also a new factor in the state.

Not a country with typhoon or volcanic eruptions, Ng said the country’s only threat came from landslides.

“And, this is mostly man-made.

“Practically every major landslide in this country is linked to engineering works where slopes have been cut or built or filled with material,” he said.

To a question whether Malaysia had to change its type of development work such as slope cutting to reduce landslides, Ng said: “Apart from the coastal plains, most of our country is hilly.

“That means slope cutting is inevitable.”

He said there was a lack of in-depth understanding of the underlying factors behind landslides among “experts” in the country.

Whenever a slope failed as part of engineering works, he said it was engineers who looked into the causes of failures or what could have been overlooked, overestimated or underestimated in their calculations.

“It is unfortunate that most of these reports (into landslides) are not freely available for public scrutiny,” said Ng, adding that this made it difficult to identify the causes and to prevent similar mistakes from recurring.

He also claimed there was a lack of appropriate geological input in the study into the causes of landslides.

In many countries landslides come under the ambit of their geological survey departments.

“Malaysia is the exception where the Geoscience and Minerals Department is not playing this key role and there is a very good reason for this,” said Ng. “Landslide as a geological phenomenon is a topic under engineering geology which is itself a branch of geology.

“Landslides began to be considered a problem only after the collapse of the Highland Towers in 1993.

“So, it is relatively new in Malaysia.

“To really have a better understanding of why slopes fail, we have to get the geologists involved,” he said.

Penang Apartment dwellers live in fear

 

Cause for concern: A view of the construction site where the paired road project is being built in Paya Terubong.

GEORGE TOWN: For the first time in the 10 years that he has stayed in his apartment near the Bukit Kukus paired road project, 62-year-old S. Santhara is worried.

That was where nine people died due to a landslide last month.

The retired fireman never had to worry about landslides because the hills behind his apartment in Paya Terubong were covered with trees.

“We knew the hills facing our block would not crumble as the trees held down the soil,” he said.

That was before the hills were cleared for the construction of the paired road project.

“As they started to clear the hills near my home last year, I worried about the stability of the slopes and whether there would be a landslide.

“Then, the Tanjung Bungah landslide occurred in October 2017 and I fear this place could be next,” he said.

On Oct 19, the landslide at the construction site for the paired road hit 12 containers that housed construction workers.

Besides the foreign workers who were killed after being buried alive, four others were injured.

The Tanjung Bungah landslide that struck the site of an affordable housing project in Lengkok Lembah Permai killed 11 workers, including a Malaysian.

A special committee, set up by the Penang state government, will begin investigations into the cause of the Nov 8 landslide at the Bukit Kukus project site in Paya Terubong.

Inquiry into the Tanjung Bungah landslide has yet to be completed.

The Bukit Kukus landslide, said Santhara, had taken place right behind the hill facing his apartment block.

Now, he said it was worrying whenever it rained.

“Anything can happen at any time. If I have the opportunity, I will move out,” he said at his home.

Already, he said, there was landslip on parts of the hill after the trees were cleared.

“There was erosion. It (the hill) has now been covered with sheets but we still worry when it rains.

“During rainfall, a lot of mud water wash down and drains overflow, spilling onto the road,” he said.

On the day of the landslide, K. Kalaiselvan, 43, who lives on the 18th floor of an apartment in the vicinity, heard a loud crash.

“It sounded like rocks and sand falling. Later, I realised it was a landslide.

“I am worried we could be next,” he said, adding that the slopes were bare and threatening.

“I run a coffee shop and have lived here for the past 15 years. This is my home.

“As I live on a really high floor, it is worrying whenever it rains,” he said.

Engineers: Put plan for a centralised agency into motion

PETALING JAYA: Set up a centra­lised national agency to really control slope safety, suggests the Institution of Engineers.

Its president David Lai (pic) said IEM had proposed the setting up of such a body years earlier and hoped that the government would look into this urgently.

“We had actually put in a position paper in 2002 on the classification of slopes into four categories according to the height and angle of the slope.

“We also had an update on the policy in 2009,” he said in an interview, adding that the two papers were conveyed to the Housing and Local Government Ministry that looked into building by-laws.

“We are still actively pursuing this matter,” said Lai.

He said there should also be a slope information management system put in place to identify risky zones.

“The government must take the lead in coming up with such a system. We can give recommendations but the government is the statutory body,” said Lai.

He was responding to Nasa data that put Malaysia among the top 10 countries with the most frequent landslides in the world between 2007 and 2016.

Lai said Malaysia should learn from Hong Kong which had to deal with several landslides in the 1980s until it set up a geo office.

“From then, they started to repair the old slopes and impose new guidelines. Now, they have managed to control slope failure,” he said.

He said IEM, which had some 48,000 members, had put in a recommendation that for development on critical slopes between 25° and more than 35° angle, there should not only be a submissions engineer but also a geo-technical specialist to check on the design.

Asked if there was a need for engineers to change their designs such as cutting or fortifying the slopes, Lai said: “We actually don’t need to change.

“We just need to make sure to put in place the required safety procedures.

“We just need to get the correct people and whether all these procedures have been implemented.”

He added that enforcement was a necessity.

He said with more hillside development, there was a need now for specialised geo-technical engineers, who knew soil conditions and behaviour, and incorporate this into slope design.

PWD working to keep landslides down

The Public Works Department (PWD) has been carrying out landslide prevention works on slopes along federal and state roads beginning this year.

The works, undertaken by its Slope Engineering Branch, will go on until 2020.

Among the measures being undertaken include evaluation, danger and risk mappings, and setting up of an early warning, real-time system for landslides.

Its director Zulkifly A. Ghani said the prevention works also included fortifying high-risk slopes along federal roads.

“For slopes along federal reserve and state roads, monitoring is being carried out by the district PWD via the visual method, such as site visits and inspections,” he said in an interview.

Zulkifly was responding to a question on the action taken by the department to monitor the slopes, particularly during the rainy season.

Last year, former works minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof said 946 of the 16,454 slopes along federal roads in Peninsular Malaysia were classified as “very high hazard” while 1,551 others were “high hazard”.

Zulkifly concluded this with the latest technology of Light Detection and Ranging and drones.

“The Early Warning System is being developed,” he said.

Zulkifly said the EWS was being developed using monitoring techniques such as rain gauge, robotic total stations as well as the Global Navigation Satellite System.

“The equipment will continuously monitor any slope movement and the data transmitted to a server for analysis and displayed on a special website.

“Should the movement reach the danger limit, it will send a message to the officer via SMS. The officer will then decide what to do,” he said.

Forty-eight rain gauges had been installed at risky slopes.

“The real time warning limit is displayed on a special early warning website for landslides, which however is still being developed and improved on by the branch,” he said.

Source: The Star by Sim Leoi Leoi, Adrian Chan, and N. Trisha

Related:

We don’t give our forests a hoot, says NGO

Related posts:

Penang floods and landslides, looking beyound natural causes!

 

Action taken over irregularities at Bukit Kukus paired road project Penang

 

Penang bald Hillslopes a “time bomb”

IJM hill clearing & Trehaus construction damaged nearby houses since 2014 must be mitigated quickly!

%d bloggers like this: