KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal today confirmed reports that the project delivery partner (PDP) model for the Pan Borneo Highway will be dropped.
He said the state government had discussed the issue with Putrajaya.
“We discussed it at length with our colleagues in Kuala Lumpur, together with Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng and my friend from Sarawak (Works Minister) Baru Bian.
“I think we have reached an agreement on certain approaches to ensure that we can cut short (construction time) and manage how we build the roads without the involvement of private sectors like the PDP,” he told reporters after an event here today.
The Edge Financial Daily, quoting sources, reported earlier that the works ministry would take over the project, with turnkey contractors hired to replace the PDP for the remaining construction work on the project.
The report attributed the decision to cost overruns under the existing PDP structure, adding that it is in line with the government’s aim to stop awarding projects through the PDP model which is less cost-efficient.
Shafie said he hoped the new approach would be implemented soon to expedite the multi-billion ringgit project.
“We’re not concerned over who’s getting the job,” he said. “What’s important for us is that the road is built so that the people can use it.
“How can the PDP, an entity which is private, be left to manage RM16 billion (of project funds)? We must be accountable,” the Semporna MP added.
“So let the government departments like the Public Works Department, the finance ministry and other state and federal agencies be involved. Let’s be transparent.”
The present PDP for the Sabah portion of the highway is Borneo Highway PDP Sdn Bhd (BHP) while Lebuhraya Borneo Utara Sdn Bhd (LBU) is the PDP for the Sarawak portion.
Sabah Infrastructure Development Minister Peter Anthony previously said the state government is capable of taking over construction of the Pan Borneo Highway.
He said this would save the government up to RM2 billion, adding that the state government had already decided to shoulder implementation of the project due to leakage in the first phase.
Construction of the Pan Borneo Highway is expected to be completed by 2023 in Sarawak and 2025 in Sabah. The dual carriageway will stretch 2,325km.
Sabah began its first phase after the launch in April 2016, with 35 work packages worth RM12.8 billion to build 706km of roads from Sindumin in southwest Sipitang to Tawau in the east coast.