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By Nigel Edgar
KUCHING, Dec 8: The federal government is not cutting allocations for the repair and maintenance of federal roads in Sarawak.
Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen made this clarification today as a Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) leader recently alleged that such an allocation had been axed. Her allegation was published in a Chinese daily.
Chong said what had happened was that the allocated fund depleted too soon.
“Upon reading this news yesterday, I called up Minister of Finance Lim Guan Eng. The reply I got was that there is no such deduction. The allocation has been granted last year for this year.
“What happened is that the allocation for 12 months of maintenance, including grass cutting, has been spent in 10 months’ time by the contractors appointed by the previous government,” he told a press conference at the state Democratic Action Party (DAP) headquarters here today.
Chong said the “good days” for the contractors and their cronies were over as the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government would be practising transparent open tender for all contracts from now onwards.
He also advised subcontractors to tender for the jobs themselves, instead of going through main contractors.
On another issue, Chong said the RM820,000 drainage project in Desa Wira that was announced by Padawan Municipal Council (MPP) chairman Lo Khere Chiang and Minister of Local Government and Housing Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian might be “bloated”.
He said the length of the drain to be constructed was about 83m, meaning the average cost is RM10,000 per meter.
“I’m neither a qualified quantity surveyor nor an engineer, but I can just make a simple comparison with a project that was supervised by (Pending assemblywoman) Violet Yong in Kenyalang Park that was completed two weeks ago. It was just to build a new concrete drain and the allocation came from me. It was RM50,000 for 50m, meaning it’s about RM1,000 per meter.
“The specs of the drain project supervised by Yong were 1.5 feet in width and 2 feet in depth. I don’t know the specifications of the Desa Wira drain project, but definitely it would not be 15 feet wide and 20 feet deep.
“We are asking MPP to provide us with the specifications of the drain and the justification for the cost,” said Chong. — DayakDaily