Tuesday, March 2

Many state projects next year

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Awang Tengah (eighth right), participants and others give the thumbs-up to the symposium.

LIMBANG: There will be jobs galore for contractors when Sarawak government-funded projects are rolled out next year.

But contractors are warned that the state government will act against those ‘selling’ the contracts for quick money instead of undertaking the works themselves.

When officiating at separate Entrepreneur Contractors Symposiums in Lawas and Limbang over the weekend, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, who is also Minister of Industrial and Entrepreneur Development, said implementing agencies had been instructed to select competent contractors to be shortlisted for the projects.

He said the state would be rolling out over 70 per cent of the RM11-billion state budget for next year, especially for the three regional agencies under Regional Corridor Development Authority (Recoda) and about RM648 million annually to the 72 GPS assemblypersons or about RM9 million each in Rural Transformation Programme, Minor Rural Project (MRP) grants, house rehabilitation and others, excluding equivalent allocations for GPS members of parliament.

The deputy chief minister said action would also be taken against those cutting corners and failing to comply with specifications or performing as specified in contracts.

“There are those who are only interested in getting contracts and selling them for 10 or 15 per cent of the contract sum and ending up begging for money from those whom they had given control of their own company chequebook, and they have so many contracts under their name,” he said.

He said priority is given to local contractors in the districts as the government had found out that projects awarded to outsiders would be sub-contracted many times and eventually would be carried out by local contractors.

On the symposiums organised by his ministry, he said they were aimed at capacity-building of contractors and exposing them to best practices in the industry and sources of finance.

He also informed that to make the procedures simpler, the divisional tender board committee can now approve projects valued at RM2 million and below, and projects costing RM1 million and below could be awarded through cast-lot system under the authority of the Resident.

“If the Resident cannot be present, the deputy Resident is authorised to decide, as the bottom line is there should be no delay in roll-out with frequent committee meetings,” he said.

Projects worth above RM2 million would be decided by the State Tender Board, he added.

Awang Tengah, who is also Second Minister of Urban Development and  Resources, has been appointed as chairman of the State Task Force for the roll-out and monitoring of the progress of the utilities projects worth over RM5 billion.

The projects include infrastructure for supply of water and electricity to rural areas in the state which was formerly undertaken by the previous federal government but was slashed by the new Pakatan Harapan government after the general election.

Also present at the functions were Assistant Minister of Agriculture Dr Abdul Rahman Ismail, Limbang MP Hasbi Habibollah, Batu Danau assemblyman Paulus Palu Gumbang and local dignitaries.