Ministry shocked it and PWD powerless in Pan-Borneo project
The mega Pan Borneo Highway project in Sabah would be fully reviewed in many aspects to address leakages and wastage of people's money in implementing it, said State Infrastructure Development Minister, Datuk Peter Anthony (pic).
He said the Ministry would scrutinise and restructure terms of management of the project as well as re-evaluate the contracts that have been awarded to contractors that are in the midst of doing the works.
"So far, the project is on. However, implementation will involve Phase 1 although it is not yet completed and Phase 2 is not yet offered to the contractors.
"At the ministry level, we are currently drafting to re-look, restructure and further improve as we see that the Ministry and Public Works Department (PWD) have no direct role at all in the monitoring, which I find strange as it is fully controlled by an appointed consultant.
"Furthermore, we noted that the Government has to pay a high price to the consultant which I am not mistaken RM700 million and compensation for acquiring private lands in hundreds of millions of ringgit," he said, to reporters at his Ministry's Hari Raya Open House, Tuesday.
Also present were Deputy Chief Minister cum Trade and Industrial Minister Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau, Deputy Chief Minister cum Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Christina Liew, Education and Innovation Minister Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob, Health and People's Wellbeing Minister Stpehen Wong, Youth and Sport Minister Frankie Poon Ming Fung, several assistant ministers, Parti Warisan Sabah leaders and senior officials.
Peter was commenting on the latest development of restructuring process of the whole Pan Borneo Highway project in Sabah.
"At ministry level, I have directed for a committee to be formed comprising the Ministry, PWD, Land and Surveys Department and relevant agencies as well as informing Works Ministry for mutual discussion.
"But for sure, there will be a review on this Pan Borneo Highway project in Sabah including involving the cost of the project which would be more towards cost savings. I believe under the new re-structure approach, there is a possibility of saving more than RM1 billion," he said.
Peter said he could not understand how the appointed consultant is so powerful until the Infrastructure Ministry has no authority to monitor the work contracts under the project.
Even at Finance Ministry level, he said, it is monitored and fully supervised by the appointed consultant which he found such process to be doubtful because even PWD was not involved in monitoring the project although the department has the expertise in technical aspects.
According to him, the newly formed committee would fully monitor the whole process so that it could be completed within the period set.
To a question, Peter said the Ministry would propose to the State Government to terminate the appointed consultant.
"For contractors who have yet to complete their awarded work contracts within the specified time, the ministry will take action including proposing to replace the concerned contractors with others to do the works.
"There are some works that are delayed which probably caused by capability of the appointed contractors and also due to insufficient money. Other factors include problems with the land levies and others.
That is why we are taking an approach which is instructed by the Chief Minister to re-look into the contracts or leakages that may happen," he said.
To another question, Peter assured that the distribution of the work packages or contract works would be done fairly and priority would be given to able local contractors.
"All this while, Sabah has contractors who are capable, well-experienced with 10 to 15 years experience in road projects.
"The problem was that maybe they were not given the chance as those appointed for the project were chosen from among the circle that have connection with certain quarters.
"Therefore, under the review and restructuring, we will make sure the awards will be shared out in a fairly manner and involve contractors from Sabah," he said.
However, those contractors who are proven to have good performance and show quality in their works in completing their contract jobs would be maintained and the ministry will make sure they finish up the jobs that have been awarded to them within stipulated time.
On example of wastage of funds in the mega project, Peter said the amount of money involved in compensating land owners when their lands were acquired for the project was too high because he noted that there are existing road alignments that can be used rather than acquiring people's lands for the project. - Hayati Dzulkifli