CM: Rural projects will only be given to capable local contractors

Abang Johari (centre) receives a memento from Awang Tengah in appreciation for officiating at the event.

– by Geryl Ogilvy

KUCHING, Oct 11: Small and medium contractors must equip themselves with the capability to undertake rural development projects in their respective areas.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said state funds were available to carry out minor and medium infrastructure projects, where priority would be given to local contractors.

However, the contractors must possess the capability to carry out the projects on their own, are familiar with procedures, and are able to deliver on time.

“We have allocations for our GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) elected representatives under the rural transformation programme, minor rural grant, as well as funds for repair of houses that will be available annually.

“We will carry out infrastructure projects each year, building or upgrading facilities, especially in the rural areas. That’s why we want capable contractors to implement projects,” he said when officiating at the contractors’ symposium for the southern zone (Kuching, Samarahan, Serian) here today.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan was also present at the event held at the old State Legislative Assembly (DUN) building.

Abang Johari said for Kuching, Samarahan and Serian Divisions, the government would be allocating some RM200 million annually for minor and medium rural development projects.

Priority will be given to contractors of the respective constituency and area or locality of the project.

“Only Sarawak has a special allocation to develop rural infrastructure and minor projects such as upgrade, build and repairs of roads, drainage, community halls and others.

“We are confident there are many local contractors who can carry out these jobs. They must equip themselves and be prepared to carry out the works while the state government looks for funds to strengthen rural infrastructure development,” he continued.

Emphasising the importance of integrity, Abang Johari warned contractors against outsourcing their projects to others under what is known as ‘Ali Baba’ practice.

Abang Johari greets Assistant Minister of Corporate Affairs Abdullah Saidol (right) upon his arrival at the symposium.

Meanwhile, Awang Tengah, who is also Minister of Industrial and Entrepreneur Development, said the state government allocated about RM648 million per year for RTP, MRP and house repair projects for the 72 constituencies under the ruling GPS coalition.

“We are providing about RM9 million in total to our GPS lawmakers, where the awarding of projects would focus on small and medium contractors such as those of Class F till Class C.

“However, these contractors must know the procedures in bidding for projects and carry out their jobs,” Awang Tengah explained, adding that the state was also allocating similar funds to its 19 GPS Members of Parliament.

He said the state was serious in helping Bumiputera contractors, expressing hope these contractors would demonstrate a similar attitude to spur their growth.

“We do not want contractors to pass their projects around or be managed by others. Otherwise, you will never learn nor improve,” he cautioned.

There are 5,779 Bumiputera contractors in Sarawak registered under the ‘Works’ category, mechanical, electrical, supply and services, with the Contractors and Consultants Registration Unit under the state Financial Secretary. — DayakDaily