MORE than half a billion ringgit will be spent on improving Selangor’s roads this year but the cracked asphalt, potholes and uneven surfaces make many wonder whether the money is being well-spent.
The allocation for road maintenance comes from the Federal Government’s Malaysian Road Records Information System (Marris).
Selangor MCA Public Complaints Bureau chief Kelvin Chong said Malaysian roads have become a safety hazard.
Manhole covers, which are not aligned to resurfaced roads and worn out tracks, have resulted in motorcyclists being thrown off their bikes, he said.
“Car owners who have suffered torn-off bumpers, bent wheel rims, damaged shock absorbers and burst tyres have lodged reports with the bureau on the bad condition of the roads,” he added
The local councils sometimes took weeks to rectify the problem, indicating it was way down their priority list, he said.
Chong added that although hundreds of millions of ringgit was paid to private contractors to upgrade the roads, the quality was often sub-standard.
“The contractors do not grind and repave the entire road surface but just add a new layer on top of the old one.
“The 50mm thickness specifications for high traffic volume roads are not followed, the thickness is only 30mm.
“As the road is not milled and the layer is thin, the asphalt comes out in clumps after a few lorries drive over the road,” he said.
Chong said since 2009, the Federal Government had given the state government close to RM2.5bil for road maintenance.
Selangor Youth and Sports, Infrastructure and Public Facilities executive councillor Dr Ahmad Yunus Hairi agreed that sometimes the work carried out was not up to the mark.
“Sometimes the contractors do take advantage and cheat on the specifications required.
“They try to cut costs and milling of the road is not carried out, Instead, they just resurface the road.
“Substandard work like this cause the roads to crumble each time heavy vehicles laden with goods go over it or when it rains,” he said.
Dr Ahmad added that certain agencies which found they had not used the allocation by year-end, would rush the road works during the rainy season.
“Resurfacing cannot be done during the wet season.
“Bitumen would not be able to bind well and the surface will crumble.
“It defeats the purpose.
“I have told all agencies not to do this type of work during the rainy season,” he said.
He added that he would ensure contractors followed the required 50mm thickness for high volume traffic roads as the 30mm thickness was only for village roads.
Dr Ahmad also said that the state had set aside RM100mil to patch potholes last year under the SelangorKu Grant.
“Most of our roads are 10 to 20 years old and their life span after resurfacing is about seven-and-a-half years,” he said.
Dr Ahmad added the state had six categories of roads — state, municipal, cheap housing, village, agricultural and back roads — and the allocation was made based on the length of the roads.
“Several state agencies, including municipal councils, district office, state Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) and state Public Works Department (JKR) are responsible for reviewing the state of roads in Selangor.
“As the length of roads keeps increasing, so does the allocation from the Federal Government,” he said, adding that the Federal Government had to award funds for road maintenance as stipulated in article 109(1) (b) of the Federal Constitution.
“In 2009, we were given an allocation of RM315,627,131 and this year we will get RM546,642,110. We usually use state funds to repair the roads first and are reimbursed later from Federal funds”.
Dr Ahmad added the Marris allocation was disbursed through several agencies.
The 56 state constituencies in Selangor get RM3mil each for a total of RM168mil.
“We do not give the allocation to the assemblyman but to the local council.
“The assemblyman must propose the roads that need resurfacing,” he said.
He added that RM500,000 is also given to the nine district land offices for a total of RM4.5mil while RM156mil is given to the state JKR.
Dr Ahmad added that a further RM4mil is given to the state DID based on applications submitted to the Selangor state treasury.
“The money will be used for agriculture roads especially in Sabak Bernam, Kuala Selangor, Kuala Langat and Sepang.
“This year, we are giving emphasis to rural roads,” he said.
He added that a further RM214,142,110 would be given to the local authorities in Selangor based on the length of roads under their jurisdiction.
Dr Ahmad said the authority to approve spending had been given to mayors, council presidents, district officers as well as the JKR and DID directors for Marris projects.
Another agency that received the Marris funds was a state-government-linked company, namely HCM Perangsang under Kumpulan Perangsang that received about RM30mil.
The money was to maintain road shoulders, grass cutting, patching up potholes and cleaning sign boards.
Dr Ahmad said the Selangor Economic Planning Unit (Upen) was the lead agency which vetted applications. Other than Upen, representatives from the state Finance Department and JKR also set on the committee.
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