Timely gift and reminder for Budget 2017
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,