Bandar Kuching MP welcomes efforts to reduce cost of Pan Borneo Highway

Dr Yii speaking in Parliament.

KUALA LUMPUR, March 27: Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii welcomes any of the federal government’s efforts in trying to reduce the cost of development of the RM29 billion Pan Borneo Highway in view of the federal government’s current deliberation whether to move away from the project delivery partner (PDP) model in favour of the turnkey contractor model.

He disclosed this during question time in Parliament yesterday when he asked Works Minister Baru Bian on the status of the government’s plans to replace the PDP model.

Baru informed Parliament that a final decision has not been made by the Cabinet as they are still studying the issue from all aspects including in making sure all government allocations for the project will be optimised the best way possible and at the same time not affect the progress of the on-going construction.

According to Dr Yii, the minister went on to give his assurance that any decision by the government will not halt the construction of the Pan Borneo Highway that has been long awaited by the people of Sabah and Sarawak and that the work package contractors will not be terminated if the job is being done properly.

“For the Pan Borneo Highway in Sarawak, the PDP agreement was signed with Lebuhraya Borneo Utara Sdn. Bhd (LBU) on June 30th 2015 with a total construction cost of RM 16.48 billion while in Sabah, the PDP agreement was with Borneo Highway Sdn Bhd on the April 11th 2016 with a construction cost of RM 12.86 billion.

“By changing the PDP model to a turnkey contractor, it basically means that the government will step in and act as a PDP rather than involving the private sector and award turnkey contractors which will bear the construction risk and financial cost. The turnkey contractor will then be liable for the designs, and also any delays, among others,” he said in a statement.

“In a nutshell, the government saves and does not need to pay fixed fees to a private company like PDP which can be substantial and in turn the turnkey contractors take on responsibility to make sure the subcontractors finish the job on time and also bear the financial risk. In majority of the cases it is up to 6 per cent.

“The biggest concern is paying the 6 per cent fixed fees to PDP. So, 6 per cent paid to PDP is almost like pure profit, straight to the bottom-line and this opens it to a higher risk of corruption,” he said.

Dr Yii cited the MRT2 project as an example, where the federal government had also changed from the PDP model to turnkey and they saved on original construction cost; otherwise they would have paid the PDP partner RM2.4 billion.

“While I also acknowledge the strengths of the PDP model, but in certain case like the MRT2, the cost actually ballooned instead of coming down so the efficiency wasn’t seen in that case,” he said.

“I welcome any move to optimise and save on the construction cost for the benefit of the people without compromising the quality of the work done. This includes building the roads without the involvement of private sector like the PDP. The highway project needs to managed transparently as it is important that the people benefit from its construction.” — DayakDaily