Pay the RM60k, KL SEA Games contractor tells Sports Ministry

Indoor hockey

It’s been close to a year since the 2017 KL SEA Games ended. However, unsavoury matters related to the regional meet have lingered on.

The latest controversy involves the damaged artificial turf used for indoor hockey from Aug 21-26 at the Malaysian International Trade and Exhibition Centre (Mitec). The contractor tasked to lay the turf, Kuckreja & Co, has not received the final payment.

The Malaysian Organising Committee (Masoc), which has yet to release the Games’ full report and expenditure, is keeping mum while Youth and Sports Ministry secretary-general Datuk Lokman Hakim Ali was quoted as saying Kuckreja & Co was not paid as the company did not remove the rubber surface.

Kuckreja & Co’s spokesperson Allan Netto insists the company was not tasked to remove the turf as he sets the record straight. Here’s what Allan told Twentytwo13:

“First, let me clarify that the Youth and Sports Ministry actually owes us RM60,000.

To understand our predicament better, let’s go back to what happened before the KL SEA Games.

Our first quotation to Masoc was on Sept 22, 2016. We had, in our paperwork, stated we required two to three months to lay the turf. We also pointed out that two to three weeks were needed to level the floor at the site.

The costing was done with two to three months’ work in mind. Nothing is written In our tender and contract about the removal of the turf. We raised this as we wanted to ensure we were all on the same page and were told that military personnel would remove the turf.

It was only on June 9, 2017 that we received the Local Order (LO) from Masoc. The LO serves as a guarantee that we will be paid for the job. The confirmation could have been done way earlier. I find this baffling as we all knew in 2015 that Kuala Lumpur would be hosting the 2017 Games and yet not much thought was put into it.

We ordered the artificial turf from our supplier in China on June 9, 2017. The turf was shipped to Kuala Lumpur on June 20. The turf arrived three days later and on July 3, we asked Masoc when we could lay the turf.

We were only given the green light on July 23. They told us the turf had to be ready by Aug 7 for a series of test matches between Malaysia and the Western Australia Institute of Sports. We told them it was too short a time. Masoc then gave us a grant of RM50,000 for the additional cost to get the job done fast. From that grant, we used RM30,000.

The rush job resulted in a bumpy surface and we had to re-lay the turf. We were told to do it “for the country” and to consider it as “national service”.

We were given a letter allowing us to claim for the additional work upon completion. However, no amount was stated despite us providing Masoc a breakdown of our cost amounting to RM65,000. With the surplus of RM20,000 from the earlier grant, our bill was RM45,000. We insisted that the amount be included in the letter to avoid any issues later.

Our company was established in 1946, way before Merdeka. So we know what national service, nation building and contributing to the country are all about.

We completed our task before the main competition started on Aug 21. There were no complaints by the competing teams.

After the tournament, we were told to remove the turf. This was not reflected in our contract and it would mean additional cost. This was conveyed to Masoc hockey liaison officer Zalina Zahid. She told us military personnel would clear the venue and transport the equipment to a store in Balakong. We were told to teach the army guys how to roll the turf, to which we agreed.

But after the Para Games, we were informed we were supposed to remove the turf as the military personnel were unable to do so and would only provide trucks to transport the equipment. When we went to the site, foreign workers removing other fittings at the venue had already damaged the pitch. We did what we could and the additional work cost RM15,000.

We were reluctant to remove the turf because of the organisers’ unwillingness to put the amount we quoted in black and white. We were told that if we didn’t remove the turf, we would not get full payment.

We have obtained payment for the initial laying of the turf but not the RM45,000 and RM15,000 for re-laying and removing the turf.

All this could have been avoided through proper planning and documentation. Let’s be professional about this. We have written to Lokman and provided him a breakdown of the cost.

We are eager to settle this matter. We hope to meet Lokman soon to clear the air and move on.”