No surprise that MPSP is nearly broke

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So there are questions being asked about what happened to the RM225 million in reserves held by the Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MPSP). Today, the MPSP is nearly broke as Penang Gerakan chief Teng Hock Nan and Lim Guan Eng engage in a battle of words over the media.

But it’s not a big mystery really how the MPSP blew its reserves.

Some RM65 million was splurged on a new MPSP office building in Bandar Perda near Bukit Mertajam. On whose instruction? Then, there are all the expenses related to the new (white elephant?) Batu Kawan Stadium and a sports complex near Bukit Mertajam.

Apart from this, the BN-administered MPSP indulged in all kinds of “beautification projects” costing hundreds of thousands of ringgit while the basics such as proper drains for the whole town were neglected.

In the name of “beautification”, they put new pavements in – only to dig them up several years later and replace them with newer pavements, in many places where people hardly walked. They put up all kinds of weird structures – especially tacky, ornamental street lamp-posts and dim pavement lighting for pedestrians. These pedestrian lights were largely unnecessary because they were usually in places where people hardly walked at night or where street lights already existed, so that the additional light provided was minimal. (See pics here.)

At about the same time, they put up these flimsy covered phone booths all over town, which started falling apart – many of them even before the phones could be installed!

True, they planted lots of trees and shrubs, so that Butterworth today looks a lot greener – but how much did all those trees and shrubs cost? And what about those huge flowerpots on the road dividers?

Meanwhile, real open recreational green spaces were swallowed up. There was a beautiful green patch in town, the padang, where many use to gather to watch football league matches. But then they erected this enormous dewan named after Abdullah Badawi’s father on one side and widened the road on the other side, so that today the field is no longer wide enough for football games.

The tennis court next to the padang is no more. Instead, it has been converted to an artificial rock garden and pond with fountains, which hardly anyone actually visits. Even the little sea-front park that Butterworth had next to the padang was lost to the North Butterworth Container Terminal and the Butterworth Outer Ring Road (Borr).

The entire beach front along Butterworth is not easily accessible to the public now, thanks to the outer ring road. If you do want to visit the sea front, then you have to park illegally on the shoulder of the highway and that’s what many Butterworth residents do. (I am not sure if they end up having to pay toll as well!) Half of Pantai Bersih in Bagan Ajam, which was hardly really bersih to begin with, was lost to the ring road while the other half is now in a mess, with sea-front erosion apparently a serious problem.

They could have turned the area where the District Officer and senior government servants once had large houses with spacious compounds (next to the Butterworth court complex) into a public park. But then it was turned over to a commercial-residential project. How much was made from the sale of the land and who profited?

And then they wonder why the youth turn to unhealthy activities. Where are the open recreational spaces for them in town? Where are the parks? Oh yes, they did build a new park further away – on unwanted land next to the Council’s huge rubbish land-fill. How thoughtful. Needless to say, it’s not the most popular park in the world.

Meanwhile, the main drains of Butterworth, outside the town centre, remain in horrible condition with stagnant water, aggravated by haphazard ad hoc construction of drains by property developers. One Australian who returned to Butterworth for a trip down memory lane (his father once served a few stints with the Australian RAAF airbase in Butterworth) was surprised (or maybe not surprised) to see no difference to the “mony drains” in town (that’s what the Aussies called the monsoon and other drains), filled with the same old dirty stagnant water.

Meanwhile, the amount of public money wasted on “beautification” projects over the years was scandalous. The most well known case was the infamous RM1.5 million five-year contract to supply flowers to “brighten up” the council offices. And all the while, urban pioneers in “squatter” settlements lived in deplorable conditions not far away until many of them were evicted to make way for “development”.

Of course, Penang state exco member Phee Boon Poh has also pointed out that the MPSP distributed RM50 million to 16-19 BN state assembly members from the mainland to carry out various projects in their respective constituencies between 1999 and 2005 (as reported in Malaysiakini). The council also allocated RM9 million for the 21 BN-appointed councillors in the 24-member MPSP to carry out similar projects between 1999 and 2006. But hardly anyone in Butterworth knew who their town councillors were; nor did they know who was responsible for such extravagant expenditure.

Butterworth is a classic example of why we need to bring back local council elections – and fast. In this respect, Pakatan Rakyat should give us a clear road map on when and how then plan to bring back local democracy.

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Penang Voter

All opposition in the Penang Assembly are from UMNO… (certain of) the projects they have undertaken are full of … and totally non-productive, non-people-friendly and corruption-prone!!!!!!

Thank you for 308. There will be more of 308 and Gerakan, MCA and MIC can kiss (goodbye) to Penang !

East_G

There’s two types of people:

One type is like to complaint and critics other people good doings and wrong doings.
My 2 cent remarks: Some things not in favor to us do not mean its not good to other people around us. Be noted we are not living alone!

The second type is like the first type but when they condemned they didn’t propose any counter measures.
My 2 cent remarks: You look wiser if you can suggest few solution ideas on how to improve those situation. So that people can take your write up positively, in a way!

joeawk

No project would meant no money to make. So, by hook or by crook, they will dream up all sorts of projects, nevermind if the projects benefits the people because the projects certainly benefit the contractors and the govt officers. Not just in MPSP but every majlisd in malaysia, that includes most if not all govt department. Comes August every years, every dept will seek to squandered unutilised budget and I am not surprised by Invoice and sign DOs in exchange of cash with actual delivery of goods and services. It is not new, every contractors will be able to… Read more »

colimac

… charge then in court to be hanged until proven not guilty…. stop corrupction and then we will have a beautifull country called malaysia baru

foodforthought

Tempers flare in Penang legislative assembly.

“It’s easy to blame others. One should bury the past and carry on with one’s work. If one were to talk to an orang bisu (mute person), surely he would not be able to reply to the allegations,” said Roslan. Roslan Saidin (Umno – Pinang Tunggal)
The above are excerpts from the news in Malaysiakini today.

Yes he can reply, and his reply would be the middle finger …

djnascimanto

I have been cursing the MPSP for the past 10 years for murdering Butteworth with their nonsense. Everytime I returned to Butterworth they was always something real stupid or ugly for them come up with…. Well written Anil.

KM

I just do not understand why Southern (Pahang, Johore) and East Malaysian (Sabahan & Sarawakian) still vote in BN.

rocky-my

Serve your right penang people. For 50 years they voted for BN and now crying foul play, Ketuananan Melayu etc. You supported Gerakan n MCA and now blame UMNO the all wrongdoing.

Serve your right !!! a Have a nice day !!!

matt

George after 35 years in the civil service trust me this retirement is the best thing that happened to me.And trust me when i say it is the racial composition. We Malaysians especially of my generation were taught to never question this issue but if we don’t address this slide now,there will be no future for the current and next generation.As for mca n mic, no need to talk about … who only enrich themselves.

george

Dear Matt, is not just about the race composition in the civil services that led to this mismanagement of public funds…. and it got to to with their mentality of Ketuanan Melayu…. These BN morons and supporters think they are the master for this land (as based on their history book) and it is their unquestionable rights to use it whatever it deem fit for them and with no proper planning or budgeting… Off course, Rakyat will suffer everyday… there morons forgot what rakyat’s needs…. the component parties within BN (namely MCA & MIC) did not even want to express… Read more »

ismail abdullah

Penang Second Bridge Project delayed two years>>CHEC asked for 2.3b for the bridge substructure,UEMB asked for 1.55b for superstructure and 930m for approach roads.At that point of time construction cost is at highest with the high steel,fuel and cement prices. Govt set up SPV…nice.Concession not given to UEM..construction risk reduced with variations of payments for material escalations i.e lower risk scenarios.The two viewing platforms also taken out.Construction cost have also come down drastically( eg:steel from 4100 per ton to 2900 per ton)..thus the public should reasonably expect lower costs.And TS Zaini hv been very forceful as late as last week..giving… Read more »

PlainTruth

Now that we know “what” the bulk of the RM225m has been squandered on, the follow-up question must be “why” were the funds the squandered the way they were.

The previous BN administration who appointed these clowns at the MPSP should have the decency to provide an accountability to the rate payers of Penang. After all, this is our money that they had squandered.

Or are we going to see a repeat performance of the land scams – a total non-accountability on the part of that political eunuch KTK ?

matt

Anil another classic is renting plants and playing musical chairs with them,one thing for sure all councils in Malaysia are made to be plundered.What do expect when they are run by moronic ptd officers.One good example was the klang muncipal council which was run by a moron who ended up becoming the mayor of kl.Nothing will change unless like what Prof Ramasamy say’s ,it is all about the race composition in the civil service which has led to this cancer of total mismanagement.

Justin Choo

Nearly broke??

Already bankrupt!!

kazar adnigab

All this nonsense is due to the Penang voters casting their vote for BN election after election until their eyes were opened on 8th March 08. So they have no one to blame except themselves

Andrew I

The beauty of BN.