KUCHING, August 24: Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How intends to lodge a complaint with the Speaker of the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) to refer Tan Sri Dr James Masing to the Committee of Privileges.
This with regards to the RM6 billion Second Trunk Road project, he told a press conference at his service centre here today.
See claimed Masing, who is the Minister of Infrastructure Development and Transportation, had breached his privilege by providing “confusing and untruthful” details of the proposed project to the DUN during the November 2017 and July 2018 sittings and also in his recent statement that was published in DayakDaily on Aug 21.
“In accordance with the Standing Order of the DUN, I am making a complaint to the Speaker of the DUN to refer Masing to the Committee of Privileges at the next DUN sitting unless steps shall have immediately been taken by the Speaker or Dewan in accordance with the law under the Standing Orders to deal with the alleged breach of privilege,” added the state PKR vice-chairman.
The next DUN sitting is expected to be in November.
Citing the hansard, See quoted Masing as saying during last November DUN sitting that: “The expressway serves to connect these clusters to Kuching but with another shorter route, sandwiched between the Coastal Road network and Pan Borneo Highway. The expressway will shorten the length from Sibu to Kuching by approximately 170km.
“While previously it would have taken you and I about five hours to drive from Kuching to Sibu through the Pan Borneo Highway, the travelling time via this new expressway would be reduced to only about three and a half hours…”
See, who is also a special officer to the Ministry of Works, said he did not make reference to Masing’s speech on the proposed Second Trunk Road project in the DUN because the scope of work appeared to have changed between last November and last month. In fact, he added, he was doing Masing a favour by referring to his latest revelation last month and ignoring the one in November.
See revealed inconsistencies in the work scope by comparing what was announced in November 2017 and July 2018 as follows:
November 16, 2017 (unedited hansard pages 53-54):
- Package A from Kuching, Sebuyau, Roban and Sibu of about 255km in length.
- Package B from Sebuyau to Sri Aman and Betong around 100km in length.
July 17, 2018 (unedited hansard pages 47-48):
- The first section is from Kota Samarahan to Roban, which is approximately a 112km of single carriageway JKR R5 two-lane highway.
- The second section links Sebuyau to Sri Aman/Betong, which is approximately 94km single carriageway JKR R5 two-lane highway.
- The last section includes the upgrading of the existing Jalan Kelupu/Jalan Tanjung Genting to Lanang Bridge, Sibu, from two lanes to four lanes JKR R5 highway.
“If we are to believe the statement that was written in Masing’s name on Aug 21, 2018, the scope of works for the proposed Second Trunk Road project have taken another twist.
“The proposed Second Trunk Road project is no longer an expressway that is sandwiched between the Coastal Road network and Pan Borneo Highway to shorten the length from Sibu to Kuching by approximately 170km, as he said in November 2017,” said See.
He said the Package B or Section 2 of the Second Trunk Road, referred to in Masing’s speech in November 2017 and July 2018 respectively, has now been clarified as a diversion road stretching inwards to serve a different purpose, and that the main objective was to ultimately join it to another highway that could make the interior of Sarawak from Ulu Sg Layar, Pakan, Julau, Kanowit, Song, Kapit and Baleh accessible.
See added that there was no mention of the last section of works, referred to in July 2018, concerning the existing Jalan Kelupu/Jalan Tanjung Genting to Lanang Bridge, Sibu, because at least 21km of the 32km route had been upgraded to JKR R5 standard highway and that route has always been used by commuters travelling to Sibu.
It is preferred over two routes travelling the full extent of the Pan Borneo Highway (joined by two separate access roads) that are both more than 50km longer, as the attached three locality plans have shown.
“In fact, after the Jalan Kelupu/Jalan Tanjung Genting to Lanang Bridge was constructed and upgraded, the commuters were using that shorter route to Sibu. It is, therefore, misleading to say that travelling from Kuching and Samarahan is 400km presently,” he said.
See said due to the bizarre inconsistencies in the information put forth by Masing, he advocated for the state government to defer the implementation of the proposed Second Trunk Road project pending the completion of a detailed study to determine its scope of works to protect the integrity of its governance.
He said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg must also look seriously at the sudden clarification that the Package B or Section 2 of the Second Trunk Road is actually a diversion road that stretches inwards to serve a different purpose with the main objective to ultimately join it to another interior highway.
See said in the map that was published by DayakDaily on Aug 21 purportedly furnished by Masing, there was no Package B or Section 2, which was either disclosed in November 2017 or this July. Conversely, he added, the three to four sections illustrated therein (showed by orange lines) were completely different from those disclosed by Masing in DUN be it last November or this July.
“It is no wonder that Masing had wanted others to help respond to my queries and that response had actually and bizarrely turned out to be an ‘exclusively statement’ in his name given only to a local online portal, making the response doubtful and odd.
“From the numerous statements given by Masing, it is clear and obvious that he has committed a breach of privilege in DUN by not giving a true picture and correct details of the proposed Second Trunk Road project, and that the project is said to cost the state a massive RM6 billion,” said See.
See expressed his disbelief and amazement that the chief minister and state cabinet had approved the project when even Masing himself was uncertain as to the scope and particulars of the project.
He said it would be normal that the chief minister would stand by his cabinet members.
“But in this case, I expect the chief minister to be more diligent and prudent that what it appears, that he will advise and instruct the minister and relevant departments to take steps to deal with the alleged shortcomings in the proposed Second Trunk Road project,” said See. — DayakDaily