After the huge public interest prompted by the daily hearings of the Uff Commission, and the resulting concerns at the revelations unearthed, it would almost be unthinkable for Manning to now shelve the report.
Two years after Diego Martin West MP Dr Keith Rowley first expressed deep concern that Udecott was a law unto itself — in a saga during which he was fired as Planning Minister — the country at last has a chance to see the findings of this extensive probe. Yesterday, Prof Uff held a media conference after presenting the report to President Richards in what he admitted was an unusual move but one he said was in line with his wish for transparency in the whole process.
Uff said he has presented 91 recommendations, basically to ensure value for money, free and fair competition, and transparency in the local construction sector. We welcome these recommendations and look forward to them being fully ventilated, debated upon, and if deemed fit, then adopted.
We hope last week’s pledge by Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Dr Lenny Saith in a Senate statement to heed concerns about procurement procedures, is a sign that the Government will be open to the Uff Report’s recommendations.
Uff assured that despite the loss of two out of four Commissioners, the Commission had still maintained a quorum, and so the report is valid.
We would like to thank Prof Uff and the other Commissioners for staying the course, and we note that despite many challenges facing the Commission, not once did Prof Uff ever put a foot wrong. Simply to have held the Commission together, particularly in light of attempts to derail it, is quite an achievement. Well done Prof Uff and thank you.
Again, the big question now of course is whether Manning will publish the report. If he does any less he will severely dent his credibility in the eyes of the population. In fact, the population has already gleaned quite a clear impression of many wrongdoings at Udecott, report or no report.
In the time between the end of the hearings and yesterday’s presentation of the report, former Udecott head, Calder Hart, has apparently fled the country, days after the COP used Malaysian documents to apparently confirm Hart’s familial links to two former directors of CH/Sunway who had won a $368 million contract from Udecott under Hart.
So, in our view the genie is already out of the bottle, and the Government would be ill-advised not to attempt to cover up the Uff Report.