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The speaker of Burma’s upper house has asked parliamentarians to compile photographic evidence of construction projects that don’t meet safety and quality standards.
During last month’s upper house session, Speaker Khin Aung Myint slammed construction companies for sacrificing safety and quality standards for the sake of higher profits, and instructed upper house MPs to keep an eye out for construction projects—including buildings and bridges— that don’t meet basic benchmarks. The lawmakers were asked to compile evidence of low-grade construction projects during the Thadingyut holiday when they visit their constituencies and submit reports along with any evidence to parliament.
Hla Swe, an upper house representative from Sagaing Division, said he has already made note of three rickety developments in his township.
“A two-story high school in Saw Township was built at an expense of 180 million kyat (US$180,000), but the contractor clearly did a shoddy job. I am going to take photos and report it,” he told DVB on Wednesday.
“There is also an artificial lake in a Saw Township village constructed at the cost of eight million kyat. The contractor promised to complete it in a month, but in the end they worked on it for just three days. It was a shabby job—the drains which channel water into the lake are crooked and aren’t even operational,” he added.
Sai San Min, an upper house MP from Lashio in Shan State, called for assistance from skilled professionals to judge whether a construction project is satisfactory.
“We need professionals because we cannot judge by ourselves whether a building meets the relevant safety and quality standards,” he said.
Another upper house MP, Saw Aung Kyaw Naing, said that one problem in his Karen State constituency is that many developments are launched without a proper bidding process.
“We need transparency regarding the details of the budget – whether there are tenders and whether the bidders implement the project themselves or outsource it to a sub-contractor,” he said.
“The problem is that in pretty much all cases, the winning bidder outsources the project to a construction company and that firm then outsources it to someone else. As a result, the company that actually constructs the project often doesn’t have the resources to meet the relevant safety and quality standards.”
All reports are to be submitted to the president for consideration.