Thursday, May 22, 2008

Selangor loses millions in idle projects - What else can we say?

Story and photos by ELAN PERUMAL - The Star 22/5/08

MEGA projects in Selangor have turned out to be costly affairs - to the tune of RM600 mil.

For example, the Shah Alam Stadium, which costs RM350mil and Paya Indah Wetlands Park at RM160mil are more like “white elephants” since the facilities are hardly used.

These unsuccessful mega projects including the Marine Park in Sungai Panjang, Exco Village at Shah Alam and 3C Complex in Subang Jaya seem like a waste of public funds as they are underutilised.

Apart from the huge costs and time involved, these projects stick out like a sore thumb with the public demanding to know what has caused the current disappointing state.

A check by StarMetro showed that many of these mega projects have turned out to be costly affairs, uncompleted, left abandoned or worse still, under-utilised.

3C Complex

Another underutilised facility, the Subang Jaya’s 3C Complex (Children’s Creative Centre) was built at a cost of RM30mil by the Subang Jaya Municipal Council in 2003.

No activities: The 30 million 3C complex in Subang Jaya.

After being abandoned for more than three years, a section of the building is currently utilised by an NGO to conduct lessons for autistic children.

Shah Alam Stadium

Topping the 'white elephant' list in Selangor is the Shah Alam Stadium that was supposed to be the football landmark of the state.

Now, the RM350mil stadium, which has a 85,000 capacity looks deserted and unable to draw even half of its full capacity for matches anymore.

The Shah Alam stadium: Another white elephant?

Checks revealed that the stadium built by the Selangor Government in 1997 hosted only about 10 matches in a year. The stadium was rarely used after the Federal Government built the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil in 1998.

State property, housing and maintenance committee chairman Iskandar Abdul Samad said a study would be conducted on how to optimise the usage of the stadium.

Besides football, he said, the stadium could be used for various other mega events including entertainment events.

“This is going to be our biggest challenge. We have no options but to look at other ways to put these projects to better use,” said Iskandar.

He added that most of these projects were implemented for the sake of development in view of Selangor's elite status.

“Lack of proper planning has resulted in these structures and facilities becoming white elephants,’’ he said.

Paya Indah Wetlands

The Paya Indah Wetlands in Dengkil is a mega project meant for nature conservation that has failed to meet its objective. Covering 3,300ha, the Federal Government spent RM160mil on the wetlands project that was opened in October 2001.

The presence of four hippopotamus presented by the Botswana government was the only drawing factor for Malaysians before the park was closed to the public two years ago.

Exco Village

Doesn’t serve a purpose: The exco village.

Implemented amid huge controversy, the Exco Village project at Section 7 in Shah Alam that was allegedly built at a total cost of RM40mil is another obvious flop.

Former Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo who declared that the cosy quarters was built at RM21mil cost had said the facility was aimed at housing the state executive councillors under one compound so that they would able to have closer interaction among themselves.

It was reported earlier that the former state government failed to make its exco members live in the 10 bungalows. The Pakatan Rakyat government had announced that the units would be handed to real estate agents to find suitable tenants.

Marine Park

A Marine Park project at Sungai Panjang near Sekinchan is said to be another project to come under fire due to the huge cost involved.

The project with 13 units of chalets at Kampung Haji Doraini with a restaurant and a shop was built by the Selangor Government at a cost of RM21mil through a direct-negotiation project. Sekinchan assemblyman Ng Suee Lim said the project was initially approved at RM10mil. Ng said the project had not been able to attract any tourists.

Riverside Park

Built along the Klang River in South Klang, the riverside park is another project that has failed to meet its purpose.

The RM10mil riverside project implemented by the Federal Government as part of its river-cleaning programme looks empty and even the residents living nearby the park are said to be not aware of the park's existence.

The park which houses the Pengkalan Batu jetty is equipped with gazebos, benches, children playground and boasts a beautiful landscape but unfortunately it remains deserted.

Canal City

The RM2bil Canal City project, which was supposed to connect Kota Kemuning and Banting via the Langat River has been abandoned.

The proposed project, announced by Khir last year and supposed to mirror the city of Venice, did not take off.

According to Khir, the canal project was meant to be a massive water reservoir that would eventually supply drinking water for Selangor.

Under the proposed project, Klang River and Langat River will be connected through a canal system on 2,185ha land.

Besides enhancing the rivers, the project was to offer attractive development along the rivers following the Venice model.

However, it is learnt that the project had been abandoned due to its high cost and lack of feasibility.

More abandoned projects

The RM25mil proposed exotic island development on Pulau Angsa off Pulau Ketam is among several projects that had been abandoned halfway.

Another case in point is the RM100mil refurbishment work at Morib Beach, which was widely reported in the media for a long time but never saw completion. The beach was expected to be provided with a RM52mil broadwalk facility.

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