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KUCHING, Sept 23: Sarawak Democratic Action Party (DAP) welcomes the initiative of the Upper Rejang Development Agency (URDA) to bring road and water development to the Ngemah, Machan, Pelagus, Katibas, Bukit Goram, Baleh, Belaga and Murum state constituencies.
Its chairman, Chong Chieng Jen, however, said URDA’s proposal reeked of “serious cronyism and improper practices”.
Chong noted that the 20 packages of road construction projects cost about RM1.181 billion and the 15 packages of water supply projects cost about RM277 million. In addition, there is also one bridge project with an estimated value of RM14 million.
“Despite the enormity of the projects, I was informed that URDA intends to appoint only three consultants for the construction of the road and bridge projects and one consultant for the water supply projects.
“As the chairman for URDA, Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing must provide a satisfactory explanation if it is true that URDA intends to appoint only the said number consultants. Why is that so? In addition, reveal the names of the lucky contractors who were given the preferential treatment,” Chong said in a statement today.
With more than 50 sizeable civil engineering consultancy firms in Sarawak now in severe shortage of jobs due to the economic slowdown, Chong wondered why the state government was not distributing the work equally, instead of just giving to few chosen ones.
“I, therefore, urge the state government to stop the old days of cronyism. Such policy of one or two persons taking it all not only throws doubt on the integrity of URDA but also its chairman and the whole state government,” Chong pointed out.
He opined that Sarawak was still governed by the same old Barisan Nasional (BN) regime under the guise of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), whereas the new federal government under Pakatan Harapan would scrutinise government projects and procurements under different standards.
He also reminded the state government that the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) now had a higher standard of clean governance. Therefore, Masing must ensure that all state government projects be implemented transparently and fairly, including the appointment of consultants. — DayakDaily