Works minister promises to look into problematic federal-funded Borneo projects

Works Minister Baru Bian (centre) with Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas (left) speaks to reporters in Kuching June 28, 2019. — Picture by Sulok Tawie
Works Minister Baru Bian (centre) with Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas (left) speaks to reporters in Kuching June 28, 2019. — Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, June 28 — Baru Bian gave an assurance today that his Works Ministry will address the grievances of cash-strapped contractors who now have problems completing federal-funded projects under the rolling plan of the 11th Malaysia Plan in Sarawak.

He said many of the federal-funded projects are caused by the contractors who are inexperienced, having cash-flow problems and lack of coordination with the implementing federal government agencies.

“Out of RM4.31 billion allocated for the 631 projects in Sarawak, about RM711 million or 16.50 per cent has been spent compared to 42.51 per cent or RM23.3 billion for the national average,” he told reporters after co-chaired the joint state action committee here.

“In this regards, all the relevant agencies have to double their efforts to ensure that the financial performance can be upgraded and on the whole can be maximised to see that the development objective of the Sarawak government can be achieved,” he said.

On physical performances of these projects, Baru said 442 of them are on schedule, 69 projects have been completed, six projects have been classified as sick, eight are in planning process, 102 projects are ahead of schedule and four others under placed under observation.

Baru said a committee has been formed to take care of the sick projects, including the Sri Aman general hospital, immigration border post in Ba’Kelalan, access road to Baleh dam and SMK Lutong and SK Tudan, both in Miri.

He said his ministry is giving priority for the completion of these “sick” projects so that the fund allocated to them is not wasted.

The minister also wanted the government agencies involved in the implementation of projects in Sarawak to upgrade their supervision.

“The cooperation and coordination among the state and federal agencies related to utilities and works approval on sites need to be doubled to ensure that these projects are implemented on schedule,” he said.

Baru said the meeting of the joint committee is proof that the federal and the state governments can work together to ensure that the development agenda is given the necessary attention.

He said he does not want to see that the implementation of projects to be politicised.

Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, who co-chairs the joint committee with Baru, gave an assurance that the Gabungan Parti Sarawak state government is prepared to work together with the Pakatan Harapan federal government.

He said he has assured Baru that the state government will make sure that its implementing agencies will give their cooperation to their federal counterparts to ensure that federal-funded projects are completed on schedule.

“What is important is Kuching and Kuala Lumpur must work together and make sure that all the projects in Sarawak will be planned and implemented in the interest of the people of Sarawak,” he said.

Uggah also thanked the federal government for allocating RM10.50 million for the survey work on the native customary rights land under Sections 6 and 18 of the Sarawak Land Code.