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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Torn mattresses in dorms, yet contractors rake it in

Students at state-funded Islamic schools in Sabah share beds with torn mattresses and bathe at outdoor taps, despite the state allocating millions of ringgit for upgrading works.

According to the Auditor-General’s Report 2010, RM1.7 million worth of upgrading works in five residential schools sampled were either done shoddily or had not commenced at all despite payments having been made in full.

“The contractors who fail to complete work according to specifications must be blacklisted, and payment should not be made before a job is done,” the report reads.

NONEIt also called for an investigation and action to be taken against those “found to be negligent or involved in corrupt elements”.

At Sekolah Menengah Agama Negeri (SMAN) Tambunan, RM1.35 million was paid from 2009 to 2010 but nothing was ever done.

The same happened in SMAN Pantai Manis where directly-appointed contractor Milure Solution pocketed between RM2,000 to RM24,000 for each job, which it however never did or left unfinished.

Syarikat Pembinanan Umum Kasariah, which, among others, was appointed through direct negotiations, bagged an easy RM20,000 for merely repainting an old door it was supposed to replace.

Another RM15,000 was paid to the same company for hand basins, but the sinks are nowhere to be found.

At SMAN Menipir, which was one of the total of 13 schools sampled, the state paid RM6,600, or 340 percent more than what they should, for 60 plastic chairs, and yet they did not get the brand they were promised.

All the 13 schools sampled were found to be problematic, with some facing landslides as the necessary retaining walls were not build.

Uniforms, milk for poor students undelivered

The state’s Community Development and Consumer Affairs Ministry also received a ticking-off from the auditor-general for failing to deliver milk, school uniforms and stationery bought for poor primary and pre-school students.

According to the report, some 8,682 students did not get their milk on time and got their uniforms for 2010 too late, in the project which cost the state RM848.36 million from 2008 to 2010.

Some of the Year Six students never had the chance to wear them as they were moving on to secondary school.

In response to this, the contractors hired to distribute the items said that they were facing “logistical and manpower” issues, especially for the uniforms, as the state had increased its allocation from a pair for each student to two pairs.

NONEThe auditor-general recommended that the programme be extended as recipients told the audit team that they had greatly benefitted from them.

But the report recommended that the delivery system needs to be improved and contractors checked and fined for late deliveries.

On Friday, Malaysiakini reported that school uniforms were alsoundelivered in Terengganu.

Maintenance costs double the vehicle price

In neighbouring Sarawak, municipal councils were coughing up to double the price of the vehicle in maintenance costs, with some of the vehicles not being in operation more than 90 percent of the time.

Kuching Selatan City Council had paid a total RM209,252 for repair works for a double cab pick-up truck which was bought in 1994 for RM104,895.

RM326,148 was paid to repair a backhoe which was bought in 1997 for RM228,550, but was not used about half of the time.

The Miri City Council spent RM52,303 to maintain a tipper truck which was under repair for 210 days and unused for 442 days since it was bought for RM48,750 in 1985.

A motor grader raked up RM69,259 in maintenance bills after being left unused for 90 percent of the time since its purchase in 1988.

“The management of the vehicles is not satisfactory. More attention should have been given to adhering to procedures”, including for usage of fuel, the report said.

It noted that those who use these council-owned vehicles are given petrol cards but the usage was not properly recorded, opening space for abuse.

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