The company previously completed the same project in 2015 for RM82.3 million.
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The maintenance cost of Istana Negara caught the attention of Malaysians after it was revealed that a company was offered a contract worth RM519m for the project.
The Public Works Department (JKR), in responding to an online report, clarified that the amount is for a period of seven years which ends this month.
JKR said in a statement that the scope of work comprised an area of 24.1.3 acres and involves several key components.
JKR also emphasised that all maintenance works are carried out as per government guidelines on building maintenance.
It went on to add that the maintenance works are necessary as the palace represents the sovereignty and identity of the nation.
MAKLUM BALAS MEDIA JABATAN KERJA RAYA (JKR) MALAYSIA TERHADAP ARTIKEL YANG DTERBITKAN OLEH https://t.co/4jZUd2O0DF BERTAJUK “M’SIANS OUTRAGED TO FIND THAT MINISTRY OF WORKS IS PAYING RM519 MILLION TO MAINTAIN ISTANA NEGARA”. pic.twitter.com/dbxG9wHiHV— JKR Malaysia (@JKRMalaysia) June 1, 2022
It’s Always About the Money
Netizens have questioned the wisdom of spending such a colossal amount when the people are struggling with rising prices.
The concerns among the public about the expenditure focus on several areas amid a feeling that tough questions have not so far been asked:
- Whether it is right to commit taxpayers’ money at a challenging time for the public finances.
- There are concerns that the government could incur further liabilities in the future.
- In 2015 the maintenance contract was only RM82 million, but seven years later it has increased to RM519 Million which is 5 times more.
- The RM519 million price is enough to build a new university or hospital.
- And all this money is the people’s money.
Imagine in today’s news, a high-schooler fall down from a bridge to cross to get to her school.— chad 🇲🇾 (@arsyadshah_) May 31, 2022
Past few weeks, news of poor uni hostel maintenance caused accidents.
And yet we spent THIS amount for Istana Negara. You guys babi memang babi. https://t.co/kfbOTVnfP6
Takleh blah la… Annual maintenance Istana Negara sampai lebih RM519,000,000.00 untuk apa? Duit tu boleh guna untuk…— Alli คอมแบท (@24thcenturydude) May 31, 2022
• Perbaiki jalan raya!
• Perbaiki system perparitan!
• Perperkasakan ekonomi negara!
• BOLEH JADIKAN B40 KE M40!
The company is a public-listed investment holding company which is principally involved in construction activities and integrated facilities management services.
It has been active in the business since 90’s and have now diversified into many sectors such as construction, facility management.
What Do The People Know About The Government’s Finances?
The people are unlikely to shed any tears if the government trims down on maintenance expenses.
They are convinced that the government can ill afford to spend so much money on it.
Netizens said the writing is on the wall since the government is considering to bring back the GST.
PM Ismail Sabri reinforces the view that UMNO will reintroduce GST. The last time is was introduced poor implementation and GST-related inflation contributed to the party’s downfall. https://t.co/nz2yeJqQyz— Bridget Welsh (@dririshsea) May 31, 2022
There is also the debt of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) that continues to put a heavy burden on the country.
16Billion to service 1MDB debt alone pic.twitter.com/zPe1K5gNbf— Ir_ Riaz🏴 (@riaz_ir) June 1, 2022
At the same time, people are concerned about the expenses incurred by the ministers.
People are sceptical if the overseas trips are necessary, not to mention the retinue of civil servants who usually accompany the ministers abroad.
Hopefully the ministers will get inspiration as they travel across the globe, on how to save taxpayers’ money and use it wisely for the welfare and development of the country.