Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Home minister: Labuan prison cost RM32.9mil

Source: http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/118158 (By S Pathmawathy, 23/11/2009)
Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein today told the Dewan Rakyat that the construction cost of a new prison complex in Labuan is RM32.9 million. In a written reply, he said the cost was not RM79 million as mentioned by Federal Territories Minister Raja Nong Chik Zainal Abidin previously. Hishammuddin added that the prison will be able to accommodate 230 inmates.
He was responding to Segambut DAP MP Lim Lip Eng, who asked the home minister if it was appropriate to spend RM79 million of a facility that can only house 200 prisoners. The opposition parliamentarian also wanted to know why Labuan was chosen for the project.
"The construction of a prison is far different from the construction of an ordinary building because it requires high level safety and security," said the minister. "Therefore, the cost also includes getting building materials with security in mind such as iron bars, lock systems, security fences with 'anti-scaling' features," he added.
Five reasons why Labuan needs a prison
Furthermore, he said Labuan like any state needs its own prison for several reasons such as:
1. Prisoners from Labuan can undergo punishment in the state itself and not in Kota Kinabalu.
2. To make it easier for families to visit prisoners which is part of the rehabilitation process and in tandem with the concept of '1Malaysia'.
3. To smoothen the administration of justice by the Labuan court.
4. To lessen the cost to visit and accompany prisoners to distant locations.
5. To reduce the risk of escorting prisoners through sea travel.
The construction of the prison faced objection from the locals who feared that Labuan will be made to look like a 'penal island'. The Labuan prison is one of the four prison projects under the Ninth Malaysia Plan. The rest are based in Seberang Perai in Penang, Perlis and Sungai Udang in Melaka. According to Bernama, Prisons Department director Jamil Salleh said the project will be carried out in two phases. Phase one will cost RM35 million and comprises staff quarters, recreation park, mosque, community hall and other facilities.
See related news http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v5/newsgeneral.php?id=438371 & http://thestaronline.com/news/story.asp?file=/2009/9/6/nation/4662546&sec=nation
Lim Lip Eng: It was announced earlier by Federal Territories Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik that the proposed RM79 million Labuan prison complex with a capacity to hold 200 inmates will continue as planned despite strong protest from the locals. However, the Home Minister Hishammuddin is now giving contradicting figures. Which minister is telling the truth? Short-changed or price being jacked-up?

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