Masing explains why Malayan firm appointed for 2 mega projects

Masing delivering his winding-up speech as seen in this photo of the in-house DUN broadcast.

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By Geryl Ogilvy

KUCHING, May 8: The appointment of OPUS Consultants (M) Sdn Bhd as the Project Management Consultant (PMC) is not to replace the responsibility and the day-to-day management of projects from the state Public Works Department (JKR).

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing said the integration of the PMC into JKR Sarawak as a hybrid PMC model serves to enhance the capacity of the department by extending the current technical capacities and capabilities.


By doing so, it would enable the state JKR to have a close day-to-day involvement managing the project starting from Design to Tender Preparation, Estimates and Tender Evaluation, Post Contract and Construction Management, he added.

“In consideration of their complexities and the technical challenges, especially with the construction of major bridges, as well as extensive peat soil conditions of the Coastal Road Network and the Second Trunk Road projects, JKR Sarawak had looked into capacity leveraging via PMC.

“This will greatly facilitate the smooth implementation of the projects in view of the tight timeframe for project delivery, which is within five years,” he said when delivering his winding-up speech at the DUN sitting here today.

Masing, who is also Infrastructure Development and Transportation Minister, said the state government had approved the appointment of OPUS as the PMC on Feb 28 this year. OPUS is 100 per cent wholly owned by UEM Edgenta Bhd.

UEM Edgenta is 69.14 per cent owned by UEM group, which is a 100 per cent subsidiary of Khazanah Nasional Bhd, which is wholly owned by the Finance Ministry.

“OPUS is a leading multi-disciplinary consultancy firm with over two decades of experience.

“To date, OPUS has gained extensive experience in providing engineering design and supervision consultancy services for some of Malaysia’s most impressive infrastructure and built-environment projects, including expressways and highways, airports and railways as well as urban utilities.

“OPUS’ consultancy expertise and experience allow it to apply proven and innovative methodologies to all aspects of asset development and asset management services across the whole life cycle of an asset,” he added.

Masing said the State Cost Committee approved the appointment of OPUS as PMC with the following pertinent points:

(a) Partnership and integration with local consultants (such as Concept-P Jurutera Sdn Bhd, Perunding Iriz and Konsultant Timur) in order to develop local Sarawak professional workforce. There is also active participation by other local consultants as the design consultants for the projects. JKR Sarawak is expecting to appoint a total of around 30 local consultants and the design fee amounts to about RM300 million.

(b) The number of professional and semi-professional staff involved in the project must consist of at least 51 per cent Sarawakians.

(c) A memorandum of understanding (MOU) with JKR Sarawak’s Research Centre on pavement enhancement, to develop solutions for a better, more durable, recycle-able and economical pavement for the future of Sarawak’s infrastructure.

The minister added that the PMC model would allow for the flexibility of expansion and reduction of project team size based on requirements throughout project phases, therefore, optimising the need for professional human capital while reducing the burden of overhead cost, as well as knowledge transfer of project management skills and best practices for development of JKR Sarawak’s workforce.

It would also promote collaboration with local universities to provide Graduate Learning & Development Programme and reduction of personnel requirement.

For Coastal Road Network and Second Trunk Road projects, the estimated personnel required throughout the entire phase of the project, by means of capacity expansion of JKR Sarawak through PMC is around 200 personnel, he continued.

“The coastal road network projects are proceeding within the targeted timeline with four projects, which have already been awarded an expected cost of about RM600 million below estimated project cost.

“Over the years and under the current development agenda, we are witnessing rapid infrastructure development, particularly on the implementation of rakyat-centric projects in the rural areas,” he said.

Masing said the obvious evidence were the implementation of many high impact projects, which amongst others, included the Coastal Road Network, the Second Trunk Road and the new Kuching/Samarahan Trunk Road. — DayakDaily