Sunday, November 15, 2009

Are we building a "reban ayam" here?

The recent suspended bridge at Dipang which collapsed and claimed the lives of three schoolchildren on 26 October 2009 prompted me to write this article.

Prior to this incidence, we read about the collapse of the roof of a newly-completed stadium in Kuala Trengganu and that of a mosque in Kemaman. After the collapse of the Dipang bridge, I asked myself, "what else will collapse, I wonder?"

I also asked myself, "Are Malaysian engineers incompetent or do we have building contractors who cheat and cut corners here and there to maximise their profits? Or do we have field supervisors who collaborated with the contractors to compromise on quality and safety?

All these questions came to my mind before I read the article in The Star on 12 November 09, where it was reported that Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said that the investigation carried out by the Public Works Department showed that the bridge did not have a proper plan and its structure was weak.

So the bridge was built without a proper design? Of course, it goes without saying that when there's no proper design, not only the structure but everything else about the bridge would be considered as "weak".

I at first thought that the bridge had collapsed because of poor design by the engineer or the use of poor construction method by the contractor. It would be simple enough for an engineer like me to determine whether it was due to poor design or poor construction, but when our Education Minister announced that there was no "proper plan", it means that there was no professional engineer being engaged to carry out the design of the bridge. When there was no professional engineer being engaged to do the design work, everything else about the sizes and type of structures for the bridge would just be guessing work.

The thing that made me wonder most was, in the first place, how could the bridge be allowed to be built and used without a proper plan (design) being first drawn up and submitted and for the normal process of approval to take place? What made the person(s) responsible for the development of the unfortunate bridge think that building a bridge is like building a "reban ayam" (chicken coop), where you can just nail in the timbers and planks together and the "reban" will stand?

Wasn't there any respect and due regards for the safety of the public when the idea of building the bridge was first mooted?

The Education Minister also mentioned that a detailed report by a special committee set up to investigate the incident involving the PWD, Perak police and the state government would be completed at the end of the month.

I certainly would like to know the contents of the report after it is completed at the end of this month. I also hope to give my comments in this blog after I have read the report.


Pearls & Gem said...

I think it is the Malaysian disease.It used to be known as the Indonesian disease but now we are more 'terror' at it:
Starts from the top, the local UMNO Cawangan chairman get the tender . 20 % there buta money. Passed to a Chinamen subcon.He has to pay PWD engineer, quantity surveyor etc etc etc and right down to the office boy who handed him the cheque some 6 months or a year latter , kopi money.
So 'cement tak cukup. besi kurang. Specs cincai etc etc.
So what do you expect: Stadium runtuh, roof masjid runtoh and jambatan runtoh.
"Buah ayok mok mung apa yang kita nak bising". We keep voting the same old clowns generations and generations.
You do not have to go to Harvard Business school to diagnose this problem. My uncle, Pak Mat Nyadap in Padang Pak Amat,Pasir Puteh ,Kelantan knows this!

Roslan said...

Doc Nik Hawk,
I really like to know how they the Government is going to ensure that this kind of collapse thing won't be repeated.

mastura said...

abang lan, untuk pengetahuan abang lan, anak man yang bongsu khairel pun salah seorang mangsa. Dia pun dah masuk separas pinggang dalam air tu... nasib baik dapat pegang tali kalo tak... tak tahulah...
Biasalah abang lan, jambatan sponsor.....tahu2 je lah. Mas pg tengok sebab anak 2 daerah ni memamg biasa kem kat situ.... jambatan baru tu.... paling lama baru sebulan siap....besi yang digunakan macam besi katil je...

Roslan said...

Mas, abang Lan tak tahu pulak anak si Man pun seorang dari 26 murid-murid sekolah yang terlibat dalam nahas jambatan runtuh itu. Alhamdulillah dia selamat.....

abdrahimjp said...

Dear Lank,
I concur with your opinion.
There exist many 'interested party' on the project(bridge) completed hastily.Why must the Primary school students dragged in the 1Malaysia activities.Go for the Youth instead.
Then only they'll know whether the concept is acceptable to M'sian.

Roslan said...

Thank you for your comment. You raised a very valid point, why used the primary school students and not the youth for the 1Malaysia activity.