Bintulu MP urges Baru to quit if safety along Pan Borneo Highway not improving

Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing

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KUCHING, Jan 17: Bintulu MP Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing has challenged Works Minister Baru Bian to resign from his ministerial post if road safety along the Pan Borneo Highway project is not rectified.

The Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) president said it is evident that many sections along the Pan Borneo Highway project were lacking in proper signages and warning lights, with poor road surface and traffic diversions.

“I have pointed these out along with thousands of road users whose complaints have been largely ignored. These allegations are not something that I and others should apologise for, because it affects public safety,” he said in a statement.

Tiong was responding to Special Officer to the Minister of Works, See Chee How, who said yesterday that the ministry has consistently issued warnings to Lebuhraya Borneo Utara (LBU) with regards to the work package contractors (WPC) fulfilling their contractual responsibility for the safety of the people.

The Batu Lintang assemblyman said the ministry has personally done spot-checks on several sites of the Pan Borneo Highway and has given stern warnings to LBU for errant contractors to repair bad road conditions.

The Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) lawmaker reminded that the Pan Borneo Highway Sarawak is still under the purview of LBU. Road repair works are executed by the WPCs appointed for the respective sections and packages according to their terms of contract by LBU.

The Works Ministry has issued termination notice to LBU for its services as Project Delivery Partner (PDP) on Sept 20, 2019, which will only take effect on Feb 20 this year.

Tiong challenged See to take a ride along the highway and see for himself, the “substandard” work done.

According to Tiong, See’s statement that the ministry is unaware of whether the WPCs have collected payments without delivery of work was totally foregoing the very role that the people have placed on the government.

“No matter what the arrangement is between the ministry and other parties involved, the final responsibility for the safety and build quality of the highway must rest on the minister.

“They are tasked with ensuring these public infrastructure is worth the taxpayers’ money and does not result in road incidents. The ministry cannot adopt a ‘fire-and-forget’ mentality with important civil projects,” Tiong said.

He added that even if LBU is the project delivery partner for the Pan Borneo project, it is still ultimately the ministry’s duty to ensure the project is completed effectively.

The ministry must do more than simply giving warning letters to LBU and their WPCs, he continued. — DayakDaily