KUCHING: The Auditor-General’s (AG) Report released yesterday suggested that the workmanship on 11 ‘Jiwa Murni’ road projects in Sarawak over the last six years was not up to mark.
This was despite the Defence Ministry spending nearly RM254 million on them.
The report indicated that eight of the 11 ‘Jiwa Murni Projects’ (JMP)—a collaborative effort between the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM), the Royal Armed Engineers Regiment (RAJD) and companies picked by the government—were defective and not maintained properly.
“Quality of work was less satisfactory. Road shoulders and drains were not built. There were potholes, uneven and muddy road surfaces in certain stretches of the road project from Pekan Belaga to Mejawah, Belaga.
“Same goes for the road projects from Long Lopeng to Ba Kelalan, Lawas, and from Miri to Marudi.
“Road maintenance was less satisfactory. Besides faded road lines, there were untrimmed wild plants and grasses along road shoulders,” the report said, adding that the audit was conducted between September and December, 2015, on the eight projects in Kapit, Miri and Limbang.
The report also noted that the safety of the roads built were “less satisfactory” as they were steep and winding, with “no slope protection.”
Land acquisition activities were also inadequate and resulted in certain landowners not being paid their rightful compensation.
Procedures for land acquisition, compensation arrangements and arbitration processes were not implemented, resulting in unpaid land and crop compensation to landowners, the report said.
Recommendations to the Defence Ministry and the Sarawak state government include adhering to the proper land requisition processes outlined in the ‘State Land Code (Chapter 81) 1958’.
The report detailed that from 2009 to June 30, 2015, ATM carried out 11 projects under JMP, which amounted to a contract sum of RM253.98 million.
The procurement for these project were conducted through ‘direct negotiation’ between the Defence Ministry’s Development Division and selected contractors, all of which were approved by the Finance Ministry.
The report did not name these contractors.
A Bernama report last month quoted Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as saying that RM743 million had been allocated to JMP to build more roads in the rural areas of Sarawak.