Saturday, October 31

Undocumented underground obstructions cause of drainage project delay, says contractor

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KUCHING: The delay in the completion of the construction of a new drainage outlet for storm water discharge at Jalan Masjid, Jalan Market and Lebuh Java here is due to the presence of previously undocumented obstructions underground.

Sim Cheng Tak,  a director of Sim Kui Hua Construction Sdn Bhd, the project contractor, said many underground obstructions in the form of utility facilities   found during the progress of the project which had to be removed or relocated .

Sim Cheng Tak

“The site was not properly handed over to us with a lot of areas facing obstructions, such as existing underground utility facilities that had prevented us from carrying out the drainage works as planned earlier,” he said  during a press conference yesterday, pointing out the RM6.6 million project was initially supposed to be completed within 12 months starting from January 2018.

He explained the relocation of such underground utility facilities were beyond their control as it required the approval by the relevant authorities.

“We cannot carry out the relocation by ourselves and so, of course it needs to be done by the authority. This is one of the factors that created the long delay,” he said, adding they had already applied for extension of time for the completion of the project.

Sim said some of the relocation works were delayed until after the project’s contract ended in January 2019.

He believed the obstructions might have been installed during the British colonial rule or even during the reign of the white Rajah.

“This is something that nobody knew before the construction stage. At this juncture we are still facing some obstructions on site and also waiting for approval from relevant authorities’ approval and also for directions from the client.”

Sim added that frequent rain had also disrupted the progress of the project.

Sim said they were still working ‘hand-in-hand’ with the city council to seek best solutions to rectify the issues facing the project.

“ We have given our commitment to the council during a meeting in September 2020 on the duration required to complete the project upon resolving all the issues involved,” said Sim, pointing out the issues identified could optimistically be overcome within two and a half months.

He also hoped the council would resolve everything within their power soonest possible, including claims assessments and outstanding payments for the work done since February till date.

On the complaints by Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii that a recent downpour had caused a flash flood in the areas and posing grave danger to motorists passing by the routes, Sim stressed the company had since instructed their emergency traffic team to ensure the site is being closely monitored during heavy rain.

“On behalf of all parties involved in the project, we sincerely apologise to the public and also the surrounding business owners who are affected by the long delayed project and we are aware the delay had caused a lot of inconvenience to the public users and business shop owners,” said Sim.