Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Selangor garbage issue: sabotage or mismanagement?

The contentious issue of waste management in Selangor began following the termination of contract by the state government with Alam Flora 16 October 2011. Subsequently, the task was given to the local councils.

Earlier, on April 18 2011, Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said the cleaning work previously done by Alam Flora would be managed by local authorities, while the latter would continue with garbage collection.
According to Khalid the state government had no plans to terminate the garbage collection contract with Alam Flora.

The crunch, however, came when the cessation of the contract for cleaning services badly impacted the contractors under the auspices of Alam Flora. They claimed that the state government must settle the outstanding payment for work done.

Public complaints about the garbage problem in Selangor have lots to do with garbage collection and cleaning works as well as the management of solid waste. Although both tasks which were earlier managed by Alam Flora had been found to be wanting in a several aspects, but not to the extent that opened the matter to a deluge of complaints as can now be seen.

The Selangor state government had consistently maintained that the problem is caused by sabotage by certain individuals. In fact, at one point during a press conference on January 4, 2012, Selangor PAS information chief, Saari Sungib alleged that the sabotage was carried out by UMNO Selangor. He based the accusation on three police reports made by a subsidiary of the state government temporarily charged with the task of garbage collection.

The company, Hebat Abadi Sdn Bhd (a subsidiary of Syarikat Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Berhad, KDEB), through its General Manager Ramli Mohd Tahir had lodged three police report alleging that compactor trucks were barred from collecting the garbage.

It is easy to come up with such an accusation, but where is the proof? Shouldn't they seek the help of local residents and certain professional individuals to at least make video recordings of the alleged incidents? This is a serious allegation and the truth must be brought into the open.  Accusing certain organisations or individuals of sabotage without producing concrete proof is a disgrace to the state government.

In any work contract, experience in the scope of services is a vital criterion to be taken into account. Reasonable pricing and lowest bid is secondary. If the bid is low and attractive but the bidder does not have the experience needed, awarding of the contract is a risk, considering that should problems arise more costs need to be expended.

Alam Flora is well-known in cleaning and rubbish collection in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Selangor and Pahang. Therefore, for the state government to appoint a new waste collection contractor, the company selected should have the experience and ability equivalent to Alam Flora.

The problem in Selangor is questionable – is it really a “political attack” or merely a serious problem of management, given that similar problems did not occurr in other Pakatan rakyat administered states, such as Penang. Kedah and Kelantan.

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