Don’t play the blame game over Sarawak River PLSB project delay, says political secretary to CM

Tan Kai

KUCHING, Jan 28: Political secretary to Chief Minister, Tan Kai has expressed disappointment towards Democratic Action Party (DAP) politicians for blaming federal and Sarawak governments over the Sungai Sarawak Integrated River Basin Development Project (PLSB) delay.

He was referring to statement by Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii during a courtesy call to Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) Sarawak together with DAP Sarawak chairman-cum-Padungan assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen and Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong.

“In fact, the cause of the delay is due to the change of procurement process after Pakatan Harapan (PH) took over the administration from Barisan Nasional (BN),” Tan Kai said in a statement today.

The scope of Sungai Sarawak PLSB included nine flood-prone spots namely, Sarawak General Hospital, Sungai Tabuan, Taman Malihah, Batu Lintang, Federal Quarters, Sungai Sinjan, Sungai Gersik, Jalan Kuching-Samarahan Expressway and SK Muara Tuang.

Tan Kai explained that the PLSB project was approved in 2017 under the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP) and Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg launched the project on April 24, 2018.

However, after the change of government on May 9, 2018, the implementation agency of the project was changed from Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE) to Ministry of Environment and Water (KASA) with Dr Xavier Jayakumar of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) as the minister-in-charge.

“In December 2018, Sarawak Local Government and Housing Minister Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian made a courtesy call to Dr Xavier together with former Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How of PKR and DID Sarawak director Datu Chok Moi Soon and expressed the urgency of the project.

“However, the PH government maintained their decision on the basis of ‘open tender’ which included the appointment of consultant and quantity surveyor.

“If we compare ‘open tender’ and ‘direct negotiation’, of course it (the former) was more transparent, but it took longer time frame for the project to be implemented and would also create the risk of project cost overrun due to increase price of material and labour,” he elaborated.

While he did not object to ‘open tender’, Tan Kai stressed that the fastest way and with lowest capital risk must be considered to implement certain projects of urgency for the people.

“Dr Kelvin Yii should reveal the truth after the DID’s visit instead of attacking Federal and State agencies in order to gain political mileage. In fact, their political decision at that time was the real reason which caused the delay of the project,” he emphasised. — DayakDaily