State govt paying ‘outrageous’ sum for road projects’ consultant, claims rep

Violet Yong - file pic

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By Geryl Ogilvy

KUCHING, May 3: Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong questions the Sarawak government’s decision to spend an “outrageous” amount of money on a project management consultant for the state’s RM11 billion coastal road network and second trunk road projects.

She claimed that the state government has appointed a consultancy arm of an asset management and infrastructure solutions company as the project management consultant (PMC) in a deal worth RM50 million for the initial package of the projects estimated to be completed in phases over 10 years.

“We know that these two mega projects are no doubt, good for the state and our people will benefit from it.

“However, while implementing the multi-billion (ringgit) projects, it has come to our knowledge that Sarawak government is ready to splash at least RM165 million to RM198 million, which is calculated at 1.5 per cent to 1.8 per cent over the total work package of RM11 billion for project management contract value,” alleged Yong when debating the TYT’s speech at the DUN sitting here yesterday.

She questioned the need for the state government to engage the consultant firm, which she described as a ‘not a full-fledged Sarawak company’, to implement the two projects. This especially considering that Sarawak has the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Transportation (MIDT), and the Public Works Department (JKR) to act as consultants for the projects.

“We all know that JKR Sarawak has branches all over the state from Kuching, Miri, Sibu, Bintulu and so on. If PMC such as [consultant firm] is handling all the monitoring works on behalf of JKR Sarawak, does it mean that JKR Sarawak has no qualified personnel to handle the task? Or that JKR Sarawak is incompetent to handle the task?”

She reminded the august House that JKR has been monitoring all infrastructure projects in Sarawak over the years and asked why the state government decided to engage a PMC to take over the department’s job this time around.

She claimed that all local consultant companies were also required to report to the said consultant firm.

Yong also claimed that the state has allocated RM10 million on travelling expenses for JKR staff this year on the coastal road network project. She questioned the need to provide such huge funding if the project is being monitored by external consultants.

She also questioned what is the exact job scope of the consultant firm and how sure is it that there is no duplication of jobs between the said firm, JKR Sarawak, MIDT and the team of private consultants.

“How could a company like [consultant firm] help to save the cost of construction of the projects and how will Sarawak government get back or recoup the total amount paid to PMC, which in our case here is estimated to cost RM165 million to RM198 million for the total work package?”

Yong also raised concerns about the PMC selection criteria and whether other companies were considered during the appointment process. She asked whether a committee was set up to vet the appointment. — DayakDaily