State govt urged to cancel direct award of RM11 billion in road projects, conduct open tender instead

Chong Chieng Jen

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KUCHING, May 28: The state government has been urged to immediately stop the direct award of the Coastal Road Project (CRP) and the Second Trunk Road Project (STRP) as there was no open tender for the said projects.

State Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Chong Chieng Jen said the RM5 billion-CRP and RM6 billion-STRP will be funded by the state government.

“For the Coastal Road Project, it is from Sebuyau to Betong, covering a distance of 92km, including a few bridges. For a 92km road building or expansion project, even with the construction of a number of bridges, RM5 billion is still extremely expensive. It is approximately RM52 million per km!

“It is shocking that for projects of such magnitude, the Sarawak state government did not call for open tender and is now in the process of awarding them to two different companies,” said Chong in a statement today.

He called on Minister of Infrastructure Development and Transportation (MIDT)Tan Sri James Masing to be accountable to Sarawakians as to why no open tender was called for in respect to these two huge projects.

“Masing should learn the lesson from the dire state of financial affairs of the federal government. It is such rampant practice, this direct award of mega projects, which has resulted in the draining of our federal coffer that we are now in debt of more than RM1 trillion.

“Our state’s reserve fund is only RM30 billion. The Chief Minister is now contemplating the construction of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) train with an estimated costs of RM11 billion. Masing is now embarking on these two projects with an estimated cost of RM10 billion.

“At the rate this is going, very soon, within five years, our state reserves will be totally depleted.”

On behalf of DAP Sarawak, Chong called on Masing to stop the award of the said two projects to the two selected contractors, to break the contract into smaller packages so that more contractors could be allowed to be involved; and to call for open tenders over all the packages so that the people will get value for their money from the said projects. — DayakDaily