Possible delay in SGH upgrades, but safety must always come first — MP

A concrete slab in the new hospital facility needs to be demolished as it has been found to have failed the standard core test in meeting technical specifications due to the use of substandard concrete. (Photo courtesy of Dr Kelvin Yii)

KUCHING, Jan 8: A concrete slab in the new facility still under construction as part of the upgrading projects for Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) has been confirmed to be faulty due to the use of substandard concrete.

It, thus, needs to be demolished.

Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii said the concrete slab failed the standard core test in meeting technical specifications due to the use of substandard concrete.

“Project Developer and Concessionaire Asaljuru Weida Sdn Bhd (AWSB) has furnished the relevant documents and reports to confirm the issues faced during the construction,” he said in a press statement today.

Dr Yii had earlier today made an unannounced impromptu check on the progress of the ongoing construction of the SGH multi-level carpark and upgrades after receiving a public tip-off of a possible construction defect.

“AWSB confirmed the rumours to be factually accurate and that these facts have already been brought up to the authorities involved, including Public Works Department (JKR), Ministry of Health (KKM), Sarawak Health Department (JKNS) and SGH,” he added.

According to AWSB, instructions to demolish the faulty slab were already served on the subcontractor responsible for the slab.

“I have personally been to the site a few times to closely inspect the progress of the multi-level carpark and hospital upgrades as it is of public interest. With this setback, it would likely result in a possible delay in the construction of one of the blocks,” he pointed out.

However, he said, AWSB had given their assurance that they would do their best to mitigate the situation and that in any delays, it would not involve additional public funds. It would only cut into the duration of their concession agreement.

“I do hope that the relevant subcontractor will be able to professionally rectify these problems promptly to ensure that the upgraded areas will be safe and operational within the contractual time period,” he said.

Dr Yii noted that the delays in Petra Jaya Hospital had already added extra traffic to SGH and, thus, the much-needed upgrades must be completed quickly and properly for the interest and benefit of the people.

“This can potentially cause issues of public safety and operational issues when the said area is opened for use. Regardless of possible delays, the utmost priority and concern have to be the safety of all hospital users, which must come first,” he said.

As hospitals are always filled with people, he emphasised that safety and security are of utmost importance. Hence, any problem arising from the construction must be rectified and cannot be covered up.

He commended AWSB for their action and transparency in ensuring that their contractors perform to the required standard.

“This is the kind of transparency and professionalism expected from all companies in carrying out projects,” he said.

Dr Yii suggested that the government adopts a system of demerit points based on negative track records of contractors during the award of future tenders.

“I would like to stress again the importance of efficient use of public funds, but public safety must never be compromised at any cost,” he reiterated. — DayakDaily