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PR scorecard in Auditor-General's report :: No scheduled maintenace for Penang Hill's trains

YB Lim Guan Eng, please enlighten rakyat for not carried out scheduled maintenance on Penang Hill’s trains by Penang Hill Corporation.

This is not a petty issue, the safety of million tourists is compromised from such poor maintenance culture.

I accepted the explanation and hope scheduled maintenance is carried out regularly as requested in the operation manual.

Penang Hill Corp defends claims in AG’s report

PENANG HILL Corporation (PHC) has defended the faults highlighted in the auditor-general’s report including the alleged lack of periodical maintenance, claiming that they only received the operations manual three months after they took over.

“When PHC took over the Penang Hill funicular train system project on March 19 last year, the Tourism Ministry did not hand us the contract documents, operation manual, ‘as built’ drawings and a list of replacement tools.

“We only received the operation manual from the Public Works Department (PWD) on June 23 last year, three months after we took over the project.

“During that period, we only operated based on ‘best practice’ maintenance,” said its general manager Maklen Ali, adding that prior to the handover, PHC staff were also not allowed to observe the upgrading works.

Following the receipt of the operations manual, PHC drew up the guidelines for periodical maintenance in accordance with the document and completed it in July last year.

“The audit was conducted between July 4 and 8, just 11 days after we received the manual. Ever since we drew up the guidelines, we have been conducting the necessary maintenance work periodically,” said Maklen.

The auditor-general’s report pointed out problems regarding the gear box oil not being changed after hitting 500 hours of usage, dirty air-condition vent, uncleaned air vents in the control box and a wire rope dangling outside the middle station’s track.

Asked if they were being victimised by the PWD who were the contractors of the project and the Tourism Ministry who were the clients, Maklen said he did not want to blame anyone and focus on moving forward.

“We have already rectified these problems during our periodical maintenance after our guidelines were drawn up. We were not even privy to the contract signed between the PWD and the ministry.

“We just had to follow what was already agreed between them. We had no say at all. We had to start from zero because we had no manual then,” said Maklen.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng who was also at the press conference said the problems with the PWD may have been unpleasant but it was better to look forward.

“Let bygones be bygones. I think the auditors also know this because it was too soon to do an audit. If they came to do an audit now, things would be much different,” he said.

State-owned PHC was set up in 2010 but only took over the operations and maintenance of the train and hill last year.

The electric train upgrading project that replaced the 87-year-old funicular tram system cost the federal government RM73 million and took almost a year to complete.

Penang Hill Corp to explain

GEORGE TOWN: The state government-owned Penang Hill Corporation (PHC), which was reprimanded by the auditor-general for failing to carry out scheduled maintenance of train operations, will hold a press conference to respond to the issue.

Its general manager, Maklen Ali, said PHC would call for it after obtaining the green light from the Chief Minister’s Office.

It was reported that the auditor-general had recommended that the Tourism Ministry and Public Works Department take action against the corporation for its failure to carry out the scheduled maintenance of train operations.

The report had noted that there were weaknesses in the train operations after the new RM73 million project was handed over to the PHC, which may affect passengers’ safety.

The report also remarked that PHC should ensure that officers responsible for the operation are provided with proper training and experience.