Chong urges MACC to probe mega infrastructure projects in Sarawak

Chong (right) speaking to reporters at the DUN media centre. With him is Chiew Chiu Sing (DAP-Tanjong Batu)

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By Geryl Ogilvy

KUCHING, Nov 7: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has been urged to investigate the tender process of infrastructure projects involving the state’s second trunk road, coastal road and Upper Rajang Development Authority (URDA).

Sarawak Pakatan Harapan chairman Chong Chieng Jen felt a lot of inappropriate practices might have occurred within the Public Works Department in the awarding of projects involving the work packages of the coastal road, second trunk road and URDA development initiatives.

“If you look at projects under the ministry on a whole, there are a lot of familiar names that keep popping up undertaking mega projects, including those in the second trunk road project, coastal road, as well as Upper Rajang Development Authority.

“I think it is not fair that there are over 20 packages of road projects and 15 packages of water supply projects under URDA. Since there are many project packages, it should be shared with the many contractors in the state,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting here today.

Chong, who is also Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, said Putrajaya had intervened in the awarding of contracts by restricting the number of consultants to three for projects under URDA.

There are over 50 construction consulting firms in Sarawak that are active and able to undertake government projects, he pointed out, while adding that the contracts should be broken into smaller packages so that more contractors could be involved.

Chong claimed the open tender process could also be rigged.

He believed that the short timeline to submit tenders had restricted the participation of many, and those with prior knowledge of the tender beforehand would have the advantage to prepare their tenders to meet the deadlines.

“This is a terrible practice, I’m calling on MACC to investigate the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Transportation,” he said.

The state government has approved over RM1.4 billion worth of development projects for areas under URDA, which would be implemented within the next two years.

The projects, to improve infrastructure and amenities such as roads, water and electricity, would benefit areas in Kanowit, Song, Kapit, Bukit Mabong and Belaga.

Chong had previously called for an open tender to the awarding of the projects and stop the direct award practice for the coastal road, second trunk road and URDA development.

The coastal road and second trunk road projects, estimated to cost RM5 billion and RM6 billion respectively, are funded by the state government. — DayakDaily