MRR2 flyover fiasco - a crying shame

At long last, the truth is out that the structural defects of the piers of Kepong flyover of the Middle Ring Road 2 (MRR2) were due to design flaws based on the findings by the British engineering consultancy firm, Halcrow Consultant Ltd, appointed by the Ministry of Works to determine the cause of the defects (The Star, 1 Oct).

In early August, the Works Minister, Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu had insisted that there was no flaw in the flyover design. He even warned that the local engineering consultant, who designed the flyover, would sue those who question its structural integrity. Is Halcrow now going to be taken to court?

Samy Vellu was then ready with a remedial-works package costing RM20 million to rectify the defects within three months and ordered the affected portion of the flyover to be closed to facilitate repairs. No mention was by him as to who would bear the cost of the repairs.

He even warned that the repair work would have to be deferred if ACA were to step in to investigate the fiasco.

Now, after a lot of public outcry, the investigations by ACA, the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee and Halcrow, the truth is finally out. Samy Vellu, in an about-turn, is now singing a different tune.

Samy Vellu was reported to have said that the remedial works would only commence after Halcrow's final recommendation on repairs so as to ensure that the flyover would not collapse after rehabilitation.

He was also reported to have said that the Government would initially pay for the cost of the repairs and would get the original contractor to foot the bill later.

One wonders why the Works Minister has suddenly run out of team in trying hurriedly to resolve the issue in his usual flamboyant way.

It is indeed a crying shame that the episode could not be resolved much earlier. The structural design of the MRR2 flyover piers is relatively simple. Any design flaws in this simple structure can be easily identified by any engineer who is experienced in bridge designs.

As taxpayers the public should demand that the parties responsible for this merry-go-round fiasco are quickly brought to book this time without fear or favor.


An edited version of the above was published in The Star on 4/10/04. 2008