Tuesday, March 20, 2012

malaysiakini and Malaysian Insider Readers :"Can YOU Uncover RM1.6bil the BN Regime OVERPAID for Highways?"

A picture paints a thousand words but do you know I have uncovered RM1.6bil that the government appears to have overpaid for the highway projects in this study?
Mind you all these projects were all negotiated contracts that means that the "I help you, you help me" mantra applies?
I leave you to ponder how much is the amount above and beyond the values that is available in newspapers and online portals like the Malaysian Insider and malaysiakini. Studies elsewhere indicate that dubious practices like corruption will add 30% to 35% more to the overall costs of doing business. We have the MACC in Malaysia but so far there have been no major coups in nabbing corruption kingpins.

Back to this highway cost comparisons:
(click on the table to see the spreadsheet and it's best to open 2 windows)
Table 1 is based solely on the picture at the top, except that the latest highway, the EDL is also included.

Both AKLEH(2001 with 3 interchanges)and SHAMELIN(2012 with 3 interchanges) projects provide a good yard-stick as they are mostly elevated highways, with only 2.4% of SHAMELIN's highway being grade level.
If we analyse the cost per km of these 2 highways, the results are startling.

AKLEH's cost per km is RM95mil per km whereas SHAMELIN's cost per km is RM50mil per km and SHAMELIN is 11 years later than AKLEH.
Let us assume that SHAMELIN's cost per km is reasonable at RM50mil per km and let us also assume that the Grade section of highways is less than the elevated section. For this exercise, let us assume that the cost is RM30mil per km. I know some of you will kill for such a deal but let's how reasonable is that assumption.

Now examine Table 2.
I have used the unit costs for the Elevated and Graded Sections and mulitplied by the actual highway distances for the different highway projects. Any SPM student is capable of doing such an exercise.
The column of "ReCalculated Costs" shows how much the different projects should have cost using the RM50mil and RM30mil per km values.
We can then compare that with the actual costs and determine how much we have overcharged for our highways.
The figure in red indicates that we have overpaid RM1.6bil for these highways.
I wonder what the Works Minister has to say.

What is most shocking is that the EDL project costs appears to be 3 TIMES above the estimated cost.

Monday, March 19, 2012

malaysiakini asks "Did You Receive RM500 or RM976Million?"

There is a lot of publicity generated in the media about the tens of thousands of poor Malaysians who were given hand-outs recently by the Malaysian government out of the generosity of the taxpayers' funds.
Never mind that the poor folks had to travel for miles and wait for hours before some VIP came to ensure they made the newspapers headlines.
But did you know there is another special assistance scheme that has not been given any publicity?
Apparently there is one company that received a grant for RM976mil in 2007. Using some simple maths, it is about RM195mil per year and that is significantly more than RM500; don't you think?
You can read the story in malaysiakini here.
The gist of the story is simple: The government grants the company RM976mil in order to complete the tolled highway and now the company has decided to sell the project for RM1.7bil and the takeover is going to be financed by borrowing RM1.2bil.
Some shady financial happenings going on here. First of all, surely the grant to execute the project must have some undertakings or was it another generous gesture like the RM500 to the poor?
Common sense will dictate that the government's interest in the project must still be protected and surely the original owner cannot cash in the RM976mil by selling the project outright. Also why would any bank want to grant a loan to a company that actually "owes" the government RM976mil and why does the government allow the grant to be encashed so readily? It is a good example of financial manipulation and a major burden to taxpayers...in other words, the Finance Ministry is abetting a financial crime!
It is commendable for the PKR and the DAP MPs to highlight the kind of highway robbery that the government is indulging in.
So don't feel so grateful about that RM500 award....we are being robbed blind elsewhere!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Voices for PPSMI

I managed to create my first video and loaded it to YouTube
First I had to learn Windows Movie Maker.
The process was quite interesting and fun.
Hope you like it too!

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Song for PPSMI

I wrote the lyrics and music was composed by Elaine Yan. As it was done in a rush, the following notes apply. 1.Omit the notes without corresponding words. 2.Substitute rests for cancelled notes. 3.The notes and words may be tweaked to suit the singers.

Solving the EDL CONUNDRUM?

I don't think any JB businessman or motorist agrees that the EDL tolls should be collected at the CIQ.Unless you happen to have a share in the EDL project.
It is really unthinkable that anyone could have come up with such a devilish scheme. It is similar to you going to a mamak restaurant and when your bill arrives, you find they have charged you double the billed amount in order to subsidise the swank restaurant promoted by the Tourism Board next door. In other words, you are being made to pay for services NOT rendered.

If you look at the diagram of the EDL route, it is divided into 2 sections, the 3.7km Grade Section in red and the 4.4km Elevated section in blue. It is therefore possible to install Singapore-type toll gantries in each section so that tolls can be collected from motorists who actually use the EDL.
Such a system would take perhaps 3 months to install and may even make use of existing road structures that can be reinforced to take some extra loading.

The toll for the entire stretch should be not more than RM2.60 each way that is comparable to tolls in Klang Valley. Perhaps the split should be RM1.00 for the Grade section and RM1.60 for the elevated section.
With a non-stop toll collection system, motorists will have a fast track to the CIQ from Pandan.

My only fear is that the queue at the CIQ is going to be more chaotic than at present!
It appears that our RM2bil CIQ is being used as an expensive parking lot for the staff. Cars are parked along the drive and restricting the space for travellers with problems and also easier movement of cars. I consider these parked cars of staff a security problem.