Baru: Pan Borneo Highway progress on target

Baru (seated second left) speaking to reporters at Sarawak JKR headquarters at Wisma Saberkas this afternoon.

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KUCHING, July 9: The progress of the Sarawak Pan Borneo Highway project is ahead of schedule and Works Minister Baru Bian is satisfied with its current development.

Speaking at a press conference at the Sarawak Public Works Department (JKR) headquarters at Wisma Saberkas here this afternoon, he said despite some delays in the Serian-Pantu section of the project, the overall project as far as Sarawak JKR was concerned was on target.

“In fact it is about 2 per cent ahead of the 20 per cent target. Only the Serian Roundabout-Pantu Junction section is about -7.9 per cent delayed.

“However according to the statistics overall, I am satisfied with the progress and if all goes well it should be completed on time,” he told reporters after attending a briefing session with Sarawak JKR.

The 1,089km Pan Borneo Highway project costing some RM16 billion is expected to complete in mid-2021.

Meanwhile, Baru also spoke on the rebuilding of 116 dilapidated schools in the state through the Industrialised Building System (IBS). Out of this figure, 50 was being implemented by the Ministry of Works through the Sarawak JKR.

He said as far as the JKR was concerned, all the schools under it was almost completed, and he was satisfied with JKR’s progress.

“JKR has completed rebuilding 48 of the schools with IBS. Two more to be completed by August,” said Baru.

Asked on the remaining 66 schools under the project, he said his ministry could not comment as they are being implemented by the Ministry of Education.

He said after being briefed by JKR, the main problem faced by the delays on the Ministry of Education’s part was not because of the IBS itself, but most likely caused by the implementation process or management.

“It is not that the (IBS) system is not suitable. I got clarification from JKR that there seems to be that perception, but apparently it is not. What I was told this afternoon was, basically all the schools using the lightweight IBS were all implemented on time and done properly. So that is not the issue.

“I think basically the issue that was that the project, which is not under JKR, was not properly implemented and (there was) no close supervision or discipline.

“However the ones under JKR appear to be alright,” Baru opined. — DayakDaily