Probe why Tanjong Manis water supply project failed, demands MP

Dr Kelvin Yii in Parliament.

KUCHING, August 6: The state government and relevant agencies should look into the RM1.06 billion Bekalan Air Tanjong Manis (BATM) project as it is deemed a “failure”.

Citing the Auditor-General Report 2017, Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii said although RM902.7 million had been paid, there was no water for the people of Tanjong Manis and Tanjong Manis Halal Hub.

The project was approved by the state government on July 25, 2013, under the 10th Malaysia Plan Provision for BATM Phase 1. Work reportedly started in November of that year.

“BATM Phase 1 is supposed to transfer 125 JLH (‘juta litre sehari’ or million litres per day) of raw water from Sungai Maaw, Sibu, using the River Bank Filtration (RBF) system through the water pump station to Tanjong Manis. This is to provide a supply of raw water for the aquaculture industrial needs in the Tanjong Manis Halal Hub.

“Out of the 125 JLH, 30 JLH will be transferred to the water treatment plant to provide clean water to the people around Tanjong Manis. The authority body that was appointed on behalf of the Ministry of Utilities Sarawak as the enforcement officer or agency for this project is Lembaga Air Sibu (LAS),” Dr Yii said in a statement today.

The BATM Phase 1 has three main components and they were to be carried out in eight packages from November 11, 2013, and be completed on November 10, 2015, with the actual cost of RM 848.40 million.

Dr Yii said the project was awarded through direct negotiations and carried out as a lump sum, where the contract specifications, design and others were provided by the enforcement agency.

“Based on the findings of the Auditor General Report 2017, this project did not achieve its intended objective because Package 1 failed to be completed within the agreed period to produce the needed raw water of 125 JLH.

“The main reason given is that the contractors appointed did not carry out their responsibility to finish the project according to the specifications agreed upon in the contract. Even though packages two to eight have been completed, it is not functional and cannot be tested because of the failure of Package 1,” Dr Yii claimed.

Package 1 included the construction of river bank filtration that was supposed to be finished on November 10, 2015. As of March 2016, the physical progress was only at 82.4 per cent, even though it was supposed to be fully completed by then.

Based on the AG report and their visit on November 8, 2017, all construction activities had stopped.

Dr Yii added that there was also a total wastage amounting to RM 12.02 million due to over procurement of unneeded pipes and piping equipment that were now left at the stockyard with grass growing over it.

“This is negligence by LAS. As the enforcement agency, they failed to monitor the estimated need for pipes and piping equipment needed to avoid excess procurement that is all paid for by public funds.

“This is a clear failure of LAS and the Ministry of Utilities Sarawak, headed by Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi, in monitoring and enforcing terms of the contract to make sure the quality of work done is up to par and also completed on the agreed time,” he said.

He said a full investigation had to be carried out at all levels to make sure there were no elements of corruption. — DayakDaily