6 `sick’ projects in Sarawak will be salvaged, assures Baru

Baru (right) and Uggah (centre) addressing a press conference after co-chairing the second State Action Council Meeting.

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, June 28: Six federal projects categorised as ‘sick’, including the proposed Sri Aman Hospital and Ba’ Kelalan Immigration Post and Quarters, will be salvaged and given priority to ensure its completion so that the budget allocated will not go to waste.

Works Minister Baru Bian revealed that up until June 23 this year, there were 631 federal projects implemented under the 4th Rolling Plan of the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP) in Sarawak with a total allocation of RM4.31 billion.

“However, the current expenditure performance for the state recorded is only RM711 million or 16.5 per cent as compared to 42.51 per cent or RM23.3 billion for the national expenditure performance,” he said.

He highlighted this at a press conference after co-chairing the second State Action Council Meeting with Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, representing the state government, at a leading hotel here today.

Baru (with red necktie) flanked by Uggah on his right in a group photo with members from both state and federal government attending the second State Action Council Meeting.

On the physical performance of the 631 projects, 442 projects are on schedule, 69 projects had been completed, six projects are delayed or ‘sick’, eight projects still in the planning stages, 102 projects ahead of schedule and four projects under review status.

The six sick projects identified are Sri Aman Hospital costing RM176.27 million which should be 99.39 per cent completed but the current status is at 59.16 per cent; Ba’ Kelalan Immigration Post and Quarters costing RM14.98 million (schedule: 100 per cent, status: 45.88 per cent); access road to Baleh Dam costing RM1.419 billion (schedule: 77.66 per cent, status: 51.14 per cent); 18 classrooms and other facilities at SMK Lutong, Miri costing RM23.14 million (schedule: 100 per cent; status: 50.23 per cent); proposed Heart of Borneo Interpretation Centre costing RM9.75 million (schedule: 100 per cent; status: 81.83 per cent); and proposed new school with 36 classrooms and other facilities at SMK Tudan, Miri costing RM48.27 million (schedule: 100 per cent; status 83.47 per cent).

Baru, thus, urged all agencies from both federal and state governments to work together and double their efforts to ensure all approved projects in Sarawak can be implemented smoothly.

On the causes of delay, he explained that the reasons varied and they included contractors’ inability to continue the projects, cash flow issue as well as coordination and management issues.

“While approved projects are ongoing, the projects categorised as ‘sick’ will continue to be given priority as huge government fundings are involved. There is a committee under my ministry looking into the sick projects,” he assured.

“Such projects must be salvaged and we must monitor closely so that the distribution of budget will not go to waste.”

Meanwhile, Uggah said he was very happy and satisfied with the collaboration, pointing out that it was a historic step by the state and federal governments in ensuring all projects planned were implemented in Sarawak.

“This collaboration is important to communicate and coordinate our efforts so there will be no duplicate of works and allocations. The state government will carry on with what has been planned on our side without clashing with the plans by the federal government,” he emphasised.

On whether he has given suggestions of the way to cure the sick projects, Uggah said: “He (Baru) is a very capable minister and has all the machinery, so he does not need my advice.”

Baru chipped in: “There are various factors causing projects to become sick and because it involves a lot of parties, we need to look into the overall, but they must be salvaged and we will ensure they be done accordingly.”

This close collaboration, he added, marked a milestone for the state and federal governments as it showed their sincerity to work together for the development of Sarawak.

“We don’t want to politicise the projects because it is important for us to ensure we can achieve the development plan for Sarawak.

“I also received assurance from Datuk Amar (Uggah) this morning that the state government is prepared to work together with the federal government,” he added. — DayakDaily