Santubong MP highlights ‘grave consequences’ from terminating Pan Borneo Highway PDP agreement

Dato Sri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar

KUCHING, Feb 18: Santubong MP Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar questions why the federal Ministry of Finance abolished Project Delivery Partners (PDP) in Sarawak but used it in Penang for project implementation.

He pointed out that there are grave consequences in terminating PDP agreements including the loss of jobs, which he claimed that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government did not seem to care about.

“Interestingly, the Federal Ministry of Finance (MoF) sees it right for Penang to give their projects to the Project Delivery Partner.

“Of course, the loss of jobs and employment is a small thing to the Federal MoF and JKR (the Works Ministry) and even our local PH MPs do not seem to think the livelihood of these employees and the families as very important.

“When I debated in Parliament last session, I touched on the loss of 500 workers as an immediate effect of the termination of the PDP, but the PH MPs of Sarawak, think very little of this. In fact, (they) belittled my effort as talking on behalf of the PDP company, which was completely wrong. I was more concerned about three things,” according to Wan Junaidi in a press statement today.

Firstly, he said the cost of the Pan-Borneo Highway might increase drastically.

“When the government takes over the project, it will involve the deployment of JKR staff, engineers and technicians. Yet the government keeps mum on the cost of JKR engineers, technicians’ man-hours.

“If Sarawak JKR is involved, this might affect Sarawak JKR’s attention on a lot of the state’s projects which are under the present GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) administration,” Wan Junaidi opined.

Secondly, he forsees the termination of PDP delaying the completion of the project which might involve costs and incidental losses in use and facilities.

The third consequence, he opined, was the loss of employment for the 500 engineers, experts, and technicians directly employed by the PDP company, and loss of contracts by the local contractors, subcontractors and suppliers.

“I’m also concerned with the losses of technology transfer and management skills to the locals in highway construction and management.”

Meanwhile, he also expressed concern that if JKR were to take over the project and hire directly, there would be bureaucratic hurdles and obstructions in getiing through JPA (the Public Service Department) at federal and state government levels before clearance may be given.

“Similarly, If JKR were to organise their own procurement, there will be the ministry of JKR and MoF to be dealt with. I was talking about both the federal and state processes and procedures,” Wan Junaidi added.

Wan Junaidi was responding to a StarBiz report that Lebuhraya Borneo Utara Sdn Bhd (LBU) is laying off more than 500 employees as its role as PDP ends tomorrow.

According to StarBiz, most of those retrenched are Sarawakians while others losing their jobs are Malaysians including construction engineers, from Malaya. — DayakDaily