Double-track rail job next PAC target

TRANSIT takes note of this article regarding the controversy over the Auditor General’s Report 2008, in which numerous government agencies were cited for overspending and wastage, including KTMB, Prasarana and the Terengganu government.

Double-track rail job next PAC target (NST)

2009/10/30

THE Public Accounts Committee has its sight fixed on irregularities revealed in the recent auditor-general’s report.

Fresh from completing its report on the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal, the PAC wants to probe the irregularities highlighted in the auditor-general’s report.

PAC chairman Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid said the PKFZ report would be tabled in Parliament next Wednesday and details would only be furnished after that.

“You can ask me anything on Wednesday, but not today. However, we were briefed by the Auditor-General (Tan Sri Ambrin Buang) on the report yesterday (Wednesday) and we will call a few people to assist in our inquiry,” he said at the Parliament lobby yesterday.

The PKFZ scandal caused a major outcry after it was revealed that the project’s cost had escalated from RM1.96 billion to about RM4.5 billion.

Big guns, including former transport ministers Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik and Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat and Port Klang Authority chairman Datuk Lee Hwa Beng had been called by the PAC as witnesses in its inquiry.

Azmi said the PAC would focus on the biggest case in the auditor-general’s report — the double-tracking project between Rawang and Ipoh which cost more than RM1.43 billion. The report revealed poor management of the 179km rail project.

TRANSIT Says:

We have always been watching and wary of government purchases and the lack of tranparency and openness in public consultation, especially with respect to public transportation.

So we definitely encourage more investigation of these issues, whether major or minor.

In addition to the investigation of the Double Tracking & Electrification project, TRANSIT believes that the Public Accounts Committee should also investigate the KTMB overhaul of Electric Multiple Unit trains, the purchase of Dalian Locomotives, and the purchase of the 4 used Diesel Multiple Unit trains from Spain.

Regarding Prasarana, the Public Accounts Committee should investigate the scrapping of the old Intrakota buses, the purchase of the buses from China, and the awarding of contracts to Scomi.

While we are confident that KTMB and Prasarana are not going to make the same mistakes in the future, we still believe that there is a role for better oversight over public transport.

Until a National Public Transport Council and Local Public Transport Councils are created, the Public Accounts Committee and the Department of the Auditor General are the only way to check on government spending and maintain accountability.

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