Saturday, January 25

Ongkili wants errant contractors blacklisted

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KOTA MARUDU: Kota Marudu MP Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili wants contractors undertaking agricultural projects in the district who were per­forming poorly to be black-listed, as urged by affected farmers and local contrac­tors.

Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili

Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili

He said that Kota Marudu district was experiencing the worst performance by contactors carrying out upgrading of agriculture facilities in the district, including levelling of padi fields and upgrading of irrigation systems.

In expressing displeasure over delayed projects due to poor work, he said almost all irrigation projects in the district had faced long delays, causing the farmers to suffer as they could not plant padi for two to four seasons and thus earned no income.

“For example, there were five irrigation projects over the past five years and none were completed on time.

Many were abandoned.

This standard of perfor­mance is not tolerated by the state nor the Chief Minis­ter,” said Ongkili here yes­ter­day.

The contractors under­taking the agriculture related projects, he added, were appointed from among those from outside the Kota Marudu district.

This had caused farmers and local contractors to question their capability and capacity to undertake the awarded contracts for lack of local knowledge.

“The local contractors say they can do a better job,” he said adding that the projects hurt the people rather helped the people.

The areas affected by the uncompleted padi field levelling work are Kampung Mangkalua and Talantang, while the long overdue irrigation work is affecting Kampung Taiwan, Kam­pung Ranau and Kampung Marudu Darat/Laut.

“Moreover, the angry farmers are blaming the local leaders. Many affected are ap­pealing for assistance to supplement their income,” he said.

Kota Marudu is the second rice bowl of Sabah, with the second highest padi produc­tion and acreage in the state.

“Certain performance criteria should be esta­blished as a guideline for the handing out of projects to contractors.

“These contractors never perform decent and satisfactory work. I urge the Government to blacklist or banish them from the district,” Ongkili said. — Bernama