Schools’ diesel fiasco: Jepak Holding appeals for due consideration

Diesel gauge. — DayakDaily. com file pic. // Photo: Pixabay

KUCHING, July 26: Jepak Holding Sdn Bhd has urged the Sarawak government to reconsider thoroughly before recommending to the Ministry of Education to terminate its contract to supply diesel to schools.

In response to a statement by Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong on July 18 concerning the shortage of diesel to schools in the state, Jepak Holding’s managing director Abang Saidi Abang Samsudin said the statement was “misleading”.

Among others, Manyin had stated that he would propose to the Ministry of Education to terminate the existing contractors.

To that, Abang Saidi said, “Manyin should at least have met us to understand the situation, instead of misleading the public by giving out such a statement.

“For the record, we had tried to approach and meet Manyin to explain to him. However, we were declined. The reason given by him was ‘it is a high profile case’. But his action in giving out a statement on the case showed otherwise. It should not have occurred based on what he had claimed it (case) to be,” Abang Saidi said in a statement today.

The Bintulu-based company hit the news when it was highlighted that 369 rural schools began their new schooling session this year with little or no fuel for their generators to power up their fans, lights, computers and other appliances.

It was also alleged that Jepak Holding was granted over RM1 billion worth of projects to install solar hybrid panels in these 369 schools. In addition, it was also alleged that former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had instructed the Education Ministry in January 2017 to appoint Jepak Holding for this task.

Abang Saidi claimed his firm and 12 of their diesel sub-contractors had met with Assistant Minister of Education and Technological Research Dr Annuar Rapaee regarding the matter on June 27 this year.

Dr Annuar was told that for the first 16 months, despite some small ‘hiccups’, the suppliers had consistently delivered diesel without any failure, he said.

“We also explained that we started having this problem on the diesel delivery to the schools only in early June, but we managed to resolve it. It was due to the arrears of payments and press statement made, which create a non-confident condition among our sub-contractors by the Ministry of Education,” he added.

“And for the record again, I wish to say that our price of supplying diesel is 50 per cent lower than the previous contractors in the past 10 years. Jepak Holding only charged the government RM459 million for three years, inclusive of maintenance. The previous contract was for approximately RM780 million to RM800 million for three years, excluding maintenance.”

Abang Saidi claimed the diesel was bought with hard cash. Hence, when payment was delayed for almost eight months, it disrupted their effort to supply diesel, logistics and maintenance work in the affected schools. — DayakDaily