Saturday, October 31

Sub-contractors cry foul over non-payment

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KUCHING: Five sub-contractors of a drainage project at Jalan Biawak in Lundu are crying foul over alleged non-payment from the main contractor.

All works including the laying of culverts have been suspended since December as a result of the ‘missing payment’. The sub-contractors have reported to the relevant authorities about their predicament.

A police report was lodged on Dec 22. General workers from the five companies were also said to be affected as they have not received their salaries.

“Five cheques of RM20,000 each were issued to the five sub contractors in October but they were all dated Nov 30. When we went to the bank to cash them they all bounced,” one of the contractors, Diet Bukoh, told a press conference here yesterday.

Also present was another contractor Chai Mui Lee.

He said the main contractor was Peninsular Malaysia based.

Diet added that the five sub-contractors had complained to the Labour Department and Public Works Department (PWD) over their missing payment.

Also, he claimed that the main contractor, known as ‘NDC Group’, still owed his company RM38,000 and RM54,000 to Chai’s.

Diet also mentioned that although another local-based company had taken over the Jalan Biawak project from the NDC Group, the PWD payment was still channeled to the NDC Group as main contractor.

The dispute has resulted in Diet questioning the manner the project was awarded in August 2009.

“Was it an open tender in the first place? Why was the project awarded to a company whose capacity and capability was not verified carefully?”

“The earth breaking ceremony took place in August 2009 and now we are already in 2012. The project is not even completed.”

In Dec last year, Diet also voiced out similar predicament, saying that the each time they approached the contractor, they would ‘play hide-and-seek’.

An aspirant politician with Democratic Action Party (DAP), Mordi Bimol, who was present at the press conference, said the RM29.9 million, 18.8 km Jalan Biawak project was expected to benefit some 13,000 people in the Bau-Lundu area.

He said the people of Biawak were frustrated with the project delay that was supposed to be completed in Feb last year.