Still no word from contractor on quartz plaques

A worker installing a plaque at Mandai Columbarium.
A worker installing a plaque at Mandai Columbarium.PHOTO: ST FILE

Last year, it was reported that of 13,000 niches relocated from the Mount Vernon Columbarium Complex to government columbaria in Mandai and Choa Chu Kang, 4,400 were installed with marble plaques, while 8,600 were fitted with quartz plaques (Plaques in 8,600 niches turn out to be quartz, not marble, Sep 25, 2018).

Why was there a need to substitute marble with quartz on about two-thirds of the niches contracted? And why was the National Environment Agency (NEA) not informed by the contractor of this switch?

Mr Cheng Choon Fei subsequently asked what further actions would be taken on the matter (How do govt agencies ensure tender specifications are followed?, Oct 15, 2018), but has yet to receive a reply.

We then heard from Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli, who, in replying to a Jan 15 parliamentary question on the niche plaque replacement, said that "NEA takes a serious view of this performance breach". This raises the question - what "serious" actions have been taken against the contractor?

And last week, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor said there was no evidence to suggest the contractor had deliberately provided a different material with the intention to cheat. Those of us whose niches of departed loved ones were affected by this have yet to receive even a simple apology.

Tan Soon Hock

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 15, 2019, with the headline 'Still no word from contractor on quartz plaques'. Print Edition | Subscribe