KUCHING: Pakatan Harapan (PH) state chairman Chong Chieng Jen is urging the state government to stop the direct award of the Coastal Road Project and the Second Trunk Road Project without first calling for open tender for the projects.
He said the Coastal Road Project is estimated to cost RM5 billion and the Second Trunk Road Project RM6 billion, adding that both projects will be funded by the state government.
“For the Coastal Road Project, it is from Sebuyau to Betong, covering a distance of 92 km, including a few bridges. For a project of 92km of road building or expansion, even with the construction of a number of bridges, RM5 billion is still extremely expensive. It is approximately RM52 million per km,” Chong exclaimed.
“It is shocking that for projects of such magnitude, the Sarawak state government did not call for open tender and is now in the process of awarding them to two different companies,” said the Stampin MP, who is also DAP Sarawak chairman.
He thus called upon Minister of Infrastructure Development and Transportation Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing to be accountable and explain to Sarawakians why no open tender was called for the two huge projects.
“James Masing should learn the lesson from the dire state of financial affairs of the federal government. It is such rampant practice of direct award of mega projects which has resulted in the draining of our federal coffer that we are now in debt of more than RM1 trillion,” Chong stressed.
“Our state’s reserve fund is only RM30 billion. The Chief Minister is now contemplating the construction of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) train with an estimated cost of RM11 billion. James Masing is now embarking on these two projects with an estimated cost of RM10 billion,” he said.
“At the rate this is going, very soon, within five years, our state’s reserves will be totally depleted,” he claimed.
Chong said DAP Sarawak is now calling on Masing, firstly, to stop the award of the said two projects to the two intended contractors of his (Masing) choice.
Secondly, he wants the contract broken into smaller packages so that more contractors can be involved and thirdly, to call for open tender for all the packages so that the people get value for the money spent on the said projects.