Timely gift and re­minder for Bud­get 2017

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPEAK UP -

re­pairs is my­opic.

One ex­treme ex­am­ple of the pref­er­ence for bricks-and-mor­tar in­stead of peo­ple is the dire short­age of safety in­spec­tors in the De­part­ment of Oc­cu­pa­tional Safety and Health (DOSH).

Di­rec­tor-Gen­eral Mo­htar Musri says DOSH has only 12 safety in­spec­tors to check con­struc­tion sites while the re­main­ing 48 tech­ni­cal em­ploy­ees are re­quired to mon­i­tor fac­to­ries and other work­places. That DOSH’s tech­ni­cal em­ploy­ees num­ber only 60 is grossly in­ad­e­quate – the Klang Val­ley alone has 600 con­struc­tion sites while some con­struc­tion sites are so mas­sive that mul­ti­ple vis­its by DOSH are re­quired.

Un­der­scor­ing the need for an im­me­di­ate in­crease in the num­ber of safety in­spec­tors is one dis­turb­ing fact – there were 140 deaths in the con­struc­tion in­dus­try na­tion­wide last year, a mas­sive 57% jump from the pre­vi­ous year.

An­other ex­am­ple of ill­con­sid­ered par­si­mony in fed­eral govern­ment ex­pen­di­ture is the poor con­di­tion of schools in Sarawak, an is­sue high­lighted re­cently by an an­gry Tan Sri Ade­nan Satem.

“I am sick and tired of ap­peal­ing for bet­ter schools in Sarawak. I am sick and tired of hear­ing news about schools with­out wa­ter or elec­tric­ity sup­ply,” Sarawak’s chief min­is­ter com­plained pub­licly and vo­cif­er­ously.

Ac­cord­ing to a New Straits Times ar­ti­cle, a re­port showed 388 schools in Sarawak were deemed to be in a bad con­di­tion, 327 needed mi­nor re­pairs while the dam­age in an­other 464 schools was clas­si­fied as in the medium range.

Fail­ing to boost al­lo­ca­tions for an­nual main­te­nance and re­pairs is voodoo eco­nom­ics. Ad­mit­tedly, de­fer­ring yearly main­te­nance and post­pon­ing needed but mi­nor re­pairs could re­sult in short­term sav­ings.

In the fu­ture, how­ever, the re­pairs will be ma­jor, could take far longer and will be more costly.

Fur­ther­more, en­dan­ger­ing the safety of teach­ers and stu­dents – whether in Sarawak or else­where – could be a ma­jor voter loser for Pu­tra­jaya.

A third ex­am­ple of mis­placed pref­er­ences is the re­cent dis­rup­tion in wa­ter sup­ply that af­fected 350,000 con­sumers in Se­lan­gor,

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