Uphold transparency, local councillors urged

COUNCILLORS appointed to the local authorities must uphold transparency and root out corruption as it is crucial to the integrity of the government, says a member of Parliament.

Shah Alam MP Khalid Abdul Samad said this was because local governments could be a hotbed for perceived exploitation of public procurement projects.Khalid: Local councillors must work together to address corruption issues at council level.Khalid: Local councillors must work together to address corruption issues at council level.

He said councillors must work together to prevent corrupt acts that threaten the integrity and credibility of the council they serve.

“Corruption must be stamped out. But we leave this to our local councillors to manage this at their level,” Khalid said when asked to comment on the ongoing Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigations into a cartel believed to control tender projects worth millions of ringgit in Shah Alam City Council (MBSA).

MBSA councillor Papparaidu Veraman said MACC’s investigations into the cartel was in relation to the multi-million ringgit Shah Alam Sustainable Urban Drainage Master Plan (SASud) project.

“Based on initial understanding, some MBSA’s employees had been detained to facilitate investigations. Our council doors are open for full investigations as we are against the scourge of corruption or mismanagement in public procurement projects,” he told StarMetro.Papparaidu: MBSA is open to full investigations by the MACC on the alleged mismanagement.Papparaidu: MBSA is open to full investigations by the MACC on the alleged mismanagement.

Papparaidu added that as a councillor, he wanted to ensure the SASud flood mitigation project kicked off for the benefit of the people to overcome the nagging issue of floods in Shah Alam.

Abdul Razak Ismail, who is part of an activist group called Otai Reformasi, said if MACC’s investigations revealed patterns of bribery involving MBSA employees, then it was a cause for concern and strict measures must be taken to prevent opportunities for corruption, by making the process transparent.

“Corruption in public procurement projects can lead to sub-standard work that will undermine MBSA’s flood mitigation efforts and other projects for public amenities,” he added.

In June this year, it was reported that MBSA had approved 37 flood mitigation projects costing RM115.3mil in total under SASud and they would be rolled out in two phases over the next three years.

The first phase involves 18 projects that are ongoing in areas worst hit by floods in December last year such as Taman Sri Muda, Stadium Shah Alam and Taman Mesra, at a cost of RM63.3mil, to be completed next year.Abdul Razak: Strict measures must be taken to prevent opportunities for corruption.Abdul Razak: Strict measures must be taken to prevent opportunities for corruption.

The second phase comprising the remaining 19 projects will commence between 2023 and 2024, costing RM52mil.

On Sept 19, MACC arrested several MBSA employees and a contractor believed to be involved in the SASud flood mitigation project.

A Malay daily reported on Sunday that so far, six MBSA employees had been detained for questioning by MACC.

Last Saturday, MACC chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki had told the media that a contractor and several employees with a local authority were being investigated for corruption.

Azam had said that the individuals detained were between 36 and 56 years old, adding that they were remanded and investigated under Section 18 of the MACC Act 2009.

When contacted, MBSA Corporate and Public Relations Division head Shahrin Ahmad said Shah Alam mayor Datuk Zamani Ahmad Mansor would issue a statement on the matter once the council had received a detailed report from MACC.

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