URDA projects: Rep advises state government not to listen to Chong

Wilson Nyabong

KUCHING, Sept 26: The state government should not risk jeopardising the Upper Rajang Development Agency (URDA) projects by listening to state DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen.

In giving this advice, Pelagus assemblyman Wilson Nyabong challenged Chong to ask his ‘boss’, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, how many local consultants in Penang would be engaged for each of these projects: RM46 billion transport master plan for George Town, Penang International Airport, Penang low-cost budget terminal, Penang land reclamation and also Penang Tunnel.

Wilson was responding to Chong’s statement published in a daily today, where Chong expressed dissatisfaction with URDA chairman Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing’s answer on the number of consultants for the projects.

Chong had earlier said that the URDA projects consisted of 20 packages of road construction projects with a total estimated value of RM1.181 billion, 15 packages of water supply projects with a total estimated value of RM277 million and one bridge project with an estimated value of RM14 million.

The Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs also claimed that URDA intended to appoint only three consultants for the construction of the road and bridge projects, and one consultant for the water supply project.

Wilson told DayakDaily today that Chong was not satisfied because he had been proven wrong by Masing.

“According to a newspaper report, he said only three ‘super lucky ones’ will be appointed as consultants for the whole URDA development. Today, he said only a handful. On one hand Chong said ‘though the appointment has not been confirmed’, and on the other hand he is still making accusations.

“He is obviously a very confused lawyer turned into a politician and now turning into a shaman, predicting the future,” Wilson remarked.

Wilson did not see the need for Masing to respond to Chong’s allegations as his statement admitted that the appointment of consultants had not been confirmed.

In addition, Wilson opined that Chong should have no problem laying his hands on the proposal he was referring to since he claimed he has a powerful insider in the state Finance Office, “who seems to know it all”.

“Suitability of consultants is very important to ensure success of projects, especially in rural areas. Rural people of Sarawak have waited a long time for development and at last our opportunity is here. We will not wait any longer for development,” Wilson asserted.

Giving an example, Wilson recalled that in 2010, flooding was a major problem in Sibu.

To alleviate the flooding problem, flood gates and bunds were proposed by the government.

The then opposition pact leader (the late Wong Ho Leng), however, called for Sg. Rajang to be dredged despite the government’s explanation that dredging would not be a long term solution.

“The state government was proven to be correct because the dredged area re-silted, and the project was a failure and wasted RM10 million of taxpayers’ money,” Wilson lamented, adding that URDA should only appoint consultants based on merits.

Yesterday, Masing denied any confirmation or appointment of only three consultants for URDA projects as claimed by Chong. Masing’s denial was published by DayakDaily and the New Sarawak Tribune.

Among others, Masing said Chong’s allegation was ‘unfounded, speculative and irresponsible’. — DayakDaily