Thursday, December 8

Monitoring vital in project implementation

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THE disclosure by Minister of Works Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof last Thursday that he was happy his ministry completed 84 per cent of the projects planned under the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP) is food for thoughts.

That an 84 per cent success rate was deemed satisfactory by the minister reflects poorly in the efficiency of the agencies in charge on the implementation of government projects.

Fadillah was not oblivious of the situation as he said that the success rate should have been better.

Crucially he added that his ministry had set up a task force to monitor the progress of projects under its purview.

While it is encouraging that such a task force was formed it is also important to find out the root cause of poor implementation of projects which often results in the projects being abandoned, delayed or badly constructed.

One of the reasons is that too many projects were awarded to a single company although on paper it might not seem to be as well connected individuals could use different companies to tender for the works.

This resulted in the companies being overstretched in their resources and manpower.

To get around this problem they sub-contracted the projects to other companies at a lower price and made a tidy profit by skimming off the original contract amount.

This unhealthy practice inevitably resulted in projects being poorly done as the sub-contractors had to cut corners to make their profit.

Often these projects were abandoned because the sub-contractors took up the projects at prices that were untenable.

Another bad practice is the awarding of tenders to maintain facilities of schools, hospitals and other government facilities to irresponsible companies which do not fulfil the terms of their contracts.

The case of students in a school SMK Katitbas near Song in central Sarawak being forced to go back to their longhouses and villages because all the four generators which provided power to the school broke down highlighted by The Borneo Post recently is an example of irresponsible contractors who were only interested in winning the tender and getting the fund.

Apparently the plight of SMK Katibas was not an isolated case as there are whispers of similar cases in the interior of the state where school facilities are not properly maintained.

And schools are not the only victims of irresponsible maintenance contractors as the cause of muddy tap water of Daro Hospital which patients and medical personnel had to endure for so long recently turned out to be the failure of the maintenance contractor to de-sludge its water tanks.

It is imperative that maintenance contractors are monitored closely as their failures affect the people who depend on the facilities they were contracted to maintain.

The challenge facing the government agencies now is what action would they take against these inefficient contractors.