Doubts cast over work progress, Bumi participation in Borneo highway

The toll-free 1,060km Pan Borneo Highway will be the main artery connecting Sabah and Sarawak. (Bernama pic)

KUCHING: The Malaysian Bumiputera Contractors Association, Sarawak, (PKBM) believes the construction of the Sarawak stretch of the Pan Borneo Highway is still behind schedule despite what the project delivery partner (PDP), Lebuh Raya Borneo Utara Bhd (LBU), has claimed

PKBM Sarawak president Abang Aditajaya Abang Alwi doubted media reports that half of the first phase of the Sarawak stretch had been completed after the government agreed to terminate LBU’s services.

“There is a delay in the project of about 2%. Now, only 40% of the project has been completed against the scheduled 42%. So, it’s not true that the project is ahead of schedule,” he told Bernama.

Abang Aditajaya said he had received input from Bumiputera consortiums involved in the project on these delays.

He believed that LBU might not have provided a true picture of the construction progress.

PKBM is now in the midst of preparing a report to present to the works ministry and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on the matter, he said.

He also wanted the ministry and MACC to investigate the actual number of Bumiputera contractors involved in the Sarawak portion of the Pan Borneo Highway as their numbers might not even reach the 30% quota, as claimed by LBU.

“The report from LBU to the government, which stated that the 30% quota had been achieved, is very doubtful as we’ve received 28 complaints, involving about 28 consortiums, comprising more than 100 G7 Bumiputera companies from all over Sarawak.

“Several Bumiputera contractors from Sarawak, which had been issued with the letter of intent (LOI) to be involved in the project implementation since 2016, are still waiting for the letter of award (LOA) from the main contractor,” he said.

He said PKBM, which had its first annual general meeting yesterday, had also received reports that the main contractors under the PDP had offered to buy back contracts awarded to some local consortiums in the bid to monopolise the project.

“These consortiums had stated that the main contractor offered payment of 1% from the contract value to deceive the government,” he said.

Launched in March 2015, the multibillion-ringgit project was slated as the biggest infrastructure development project undertaken by the federal government in Sarawak in 54 years.

The toll-free 1,060km highway will be the main artery connecting Sabah and Sarawak.