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Seven-year wait for new police training centre

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AUDIT REPORT The construction of a police training centre complex in Pelangai, Pahang, was to take 90 weeks, but auditors have found the project to have dragged on for seven years instead.

The Auditor-General’s Report 2015 (Series 2) released yesterday chastised the Public Works Department (PWD), the Ministry of Home Affairs (Moha), and the project consultants for poor monitoring of the project.

The cost of the project also ballooned by RM12.88 million as a result of the delay, including RM5.10 million for re-tendering the project.

“To overcome the weaknesses highlighted and to prevent them from recurring in the future, it is recommended that Moha and PWD recognise (issues) in this project as lessons learnt,” the report reads.

According to the report, the complex is meant to become the General Operations Force Learning Centre for the police force, and is the first of eight training institutions to be built as part of the 1,300-acre Police Training Centre in Pelangai.

Moha is the project client and PWD is the implementing agency.

The contract to design and build the training centre, worth RM138.40 million, was awarded via direct negotiation to Malgran Resources Sdn Bhd (MRSB), which took over the project site on May 28, 2009, and was supposed to complete it by June 30, 2012.

Among the components to be built during this phase are a lecture complex, cafeteria, accommodation sites, workshops, ammunition store and a shooting range.

After being given two deadline extensions, totalling 500 days, 11 warning letters and four notices of intent to terminate the contract, the services of MRSB was finally terminated on Nov 21, 2013.

The project was 95 percent complete at the time, but the contractor was deemed not to have shown tenacity nor commitment to complete the job. Of the RM138.40 million contract sum, RM113.15 million (81.75 percent) had been disbursed.

“In the audit’s opinion, too many chances had been given to the contractor, causing the long delays,” the report says.

In response, PWD said the notice of intent to terminate the contract was initially given as a final warning for the contractor to push for the project’s completion, and was cancelled when it offered excuses that were deemed reasonable.

Subsequently, after the issuance of each additional notice of intent, MRSB pleaded for more time to finish the project and showed the work done thus far, so the department agreed to give the contractor another chance until the last straw came.

“The actual contract period is up to June 30, 2012, and the contractor still failed to finish the job by then.

“After the final letter of intent to terminate the contract was given, further appeals and feedback were not entertained because the contractor’s achievements on site were extremely dissatisfactory and the termination notice was issued by the director-general of public works on Nov 21, 2013,” the PWD said in response to the audit findings.

Works not up to specifications

The PWD’s Sick Projects Committee then appointed Bauran Bina Sdn Bhd (BBSB) on Sept 26, 2014, through a restricted tender, to complete the project.

However, after the project was awarded, the project’s electrical systems were found to be damaged due to exposure to inclement weather, vandalism and works that were not up to specifications.

This added a cost of another RM7.78 million for architectural and electrical works, the report said.

In addition, the amenities on the project site had also fallen into disrepair by the time BBSB was appointed as a ‘saviour contractor’.

“According to the director-general of public works’ directive number 8, 2013, after a contract is voided, action needs to be taken to ensure the safety and durability of equipment and materials for incomplete works to keep these from falling into rust and disrepair.

“The audit found that the equipment are yet to be used and have not been maintained properly, and have become damaged. This will cause losses to the government because the cost of its procurement has already been paid to the contractor,” the report said.

It added that the government had paid RM0.65 million for kitchen equipment and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) system, and RM1.48 million for furniture - which are now damaged.

BBSB took over the work site on Oct 8, 2014, and was supposed to complete the training centre by June 9 last year.

However, much to the chagrin of the auditors, BBSB was also given extensions of time. As of May this year at the end of the audit, the project was slated for completion on Aug 30.

BBSB had been granted three extensions of time, totalling 448 days, but the PWD defended this.

It said this was to perform rectification works on the damaged electrical system, which was initially missed by the consultants’ visual inspections, but was later discovered when BBSB performed a more comprehensive testing.

More time is hence needed to test all electrical installations and study the extent of the damage, so that the necessary instructions for its rectification can be given, the PWD said.

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