Minister should be held accountable for delay in the Petra Jaya Hospital project

Works Minister Fadillah Yusof should be held accountable for the gross delay in the Petra Jaya Hospital project.

As late as February, 2016, Fadillah has publicly announced that the said Petrajaya Hospital project was “progressing smoothly”.

How can a project which was “progressing smoothly” in February, 2016 becomes 36 percent behind schedule eight months later in October the same year?

Therefore, the only plausible conclusion one can have about Fadillah’s “ progressing smoothly” statement is either he did not know the work under his ministry or he was allegedly trying to cover up for the contractor at the time when he made the statement.

In either case, as the public works minister, he should be held accountable for not addressing the problem earlier, thus allowing the delay of 36 percent behind schedule.

In fact, the said project was supposed to be due for completion in November, 2016, but due to the 36 percent behind schedule factor, its completion date is now tentatively delayed till June, 2017. Whether it will be completed in June 2017 is still a big question mark. Meanwhile, we all are put to great inconvenience and deprived of the service of a new hospital as promised by the government.

In fact, given the excessive amount approved and awarded for the said hospital project, the contractor, Zecon Berhad, should complete the project ahead of schedule instead of 36 percent behind schedule.

In 2010, the Prime Minister’s Office has issued a directive on the benchmark construction costs of a government hospital which was fixed at RM500,000 per bed, inclusive of all medical equipment.

The proposed Petrajaya Hospital is a 300-bed hospital and the awarded construction costs to Zecon was RM495 million, which is RM345 million (or 230 percent) above the benchmark costs set by the Prime Minister Office.

The said contract was awarded in 2013 which was only three years after the benchmark was set. In three years’ time, inflation couldn’t be so high as to increase the costs of construction by 230 percent.

Therefore, not only must Fadillah be held accountable for the delay of the said project, but the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) should also carry out an investigation on the 230 percent costs increase of the said Petrajaya Hospital project. This is especially so given the recent shocking revelation of the record-setting corruption case in Sabah Water Board.