KUCHING, Oct 16: The progress of the Pan Borneo Highway project and income of thousands involved in its construction will be affected amid delays in the takeover of the project delivery partner (PDP).
Santubong MP Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar expressed concern of the takeover exercise between Lebuhraya Borneo Utara Sdn Bhd (LBU) and the Public Works Department (JKR), which scheduled to take place in February next year.
It will not only affect the income of contractors and other companies involved in the project, but also the livelihood and welfare of employees, general workers and their families, he said.
“I’m not defending LBU as the current PDP but I am very concern with the possible delay as a result of the project management takeover by JKR.
“Any delay for the takeover, as it happened in the Sabah portion of the Pan Borneo, might affect payment of sub-contractors in Sarawak, where survival of the hundreds of companies are at risk, meaning thousands of the staffs and workers of are not paid salaries,” Wan Junaidi said in a statement.
He estimated some 400,000 Sarawakians could be involved directly or indirectly in the Pan Borneo Highway project.
Wan Junaidi also believed that once JKR takes over the mega project, it could sub-contract the jobs to others.
“JKR are not likely to manage and do the project themselves. They are going to contract it out by way of ‘lump sum’ contract. Is it going to be direct negotiation contract or open tender? The process is going to be complex because of the sub-contractors agreements.
“The process will take even longer time. There is no guarantee that the main contractor or contractors are going to be from Sarawak. Any delay in the takeover by JKR means delay in doing the works and this might delay the project delivery,” he said.
He expressed worry that the actual cost of the project might increase, instead of the takeover exercise being a cost-saving measure by the Pakatan Harapan government.
Wan Junaidi also raised safety issue at the construction sites, especially cutting of hills, land filling and embankment that could collapse during the delayed work period.
LBU has been given five months to hand over the project to the state JKR. LBU has confirmed that it received the PDP termination letter on Sept 20. — DayakDaily