Tuesday, December 3, 2013

'Deadline not met in building 38 S'wak schools'

AUDIT REPORT The construction of several school buildings in Sarawak has been found to be “unsatisfactory”, given that 38 out of 56 projects worth a total of RM1.054 billion were not completed within the stipulated time between 2008 and 2012.

The Auditor-General's Report 2012 also states that only 18 schools were completed and handed over to the state education department - but 389 to 870 days after the scheduled completion dates. 

NONEContracts for the schools still under construction as at Dec 31, 2012, were valued at RM620.94 million. The work has already recorded delays of 219 to 909 days.

The auditor-general said the projects were awarded via open tender, limited tender or direct negotiations.

“Of the 16 projects that we visited, only one was found to have been built according to schedule. Eight others have been delayed, while the contracts for seven projects have been terminated or are in the process of being  terminated,” the report states. 

“The ministry is in the process of appointing new contractors to complete the unfinished projects where the original contracts were terminated.”

The audit report further took note of “unsatisfactory supervision” and, in some cases, poor quality of construction.

NONECauses of the delay include the absence of soil investigation studies; the questionable financial standing of some contractors; and difficulty in getting construction materials as well as workers.

At SK Long Sukang in Lawas(right), soil investigations were not carried out, and a landslide later occurred at the site. At SMK Sebauh, Bintulu, soil erosion resulted in damage to the building.

“We also question the expenditure as (what has been spent) is not reflected in the physical state of the structure,” the report says.

Inadequate supervision

Shoddy workmanship was observed in some projects, as a result of the contractor not studying the design drawings. 

NONEProper supervision could have prevented bad workmanship to ensure that the facilities are safe and the ministry gets value for money, the report notes.

In its response, the Education Ministry pointed to various factors for the delay, including issues between the consultant and contractors.

“But the ministry remains committed to ensuring that pupils, teachers and other staff are placed in a proper environment,” it says in the report.

The ministry also conceded the point on poor quality of construction, explaining that it could be due to contractors out to make a quick profit.

~ Malaysiakini

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