Concern over Pan Borneo Highway delay
Published on: Wednesday, March 20, 2019
By: Leonard Alaza
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KOTA KINABALU: The clock is ticking fast for the multi-billion ringgit Sabah portion of the Pan Borneo Highway project to be completed on schedule but delays have been a cause for concern among the public.

With 12 packages so far on the ground out of the total of 35 and three more years to go to its scheduled completion in 2021, the project has so far only given members of the public reason to doubt it would be completed on schedule.

Institute for Development Studies (IDS) on Tuesday took the initiative to organise a workshop to engage with all the relevant stakeholders in the hope to minimize delays, if not eliminate them.

Its Chairman Tan Sri Simon Sipaun said it was important for the stakeholders meet “eyeball to eyeball” in order to resolve issues which have contributed to the project delay. 

“I hope the workshop will be able to identify the real problems which caused the long delay in the implementation of the project and come up with an effective solution.

“In the event that you’re not on the same page, I hope that following this workshop you will have a better understanding and appreciate one another’s point of view. 

“The cumulative effect should result in the ability to minimise, if not eliminate, current problems and assist towards the smoother and faster realisation of the project,” he said at the opening of the workshop.

He noted that one of the main causes of the long delay is the acquisition of private lands.

Based on the Master Implementation Plan presented to workshop participants by Borneo Highway PDP Sdn Bhd (PDP), the award of last work package was on March 23 last year.

Currently, there is a balance of 23 packages still to be awarded.

When asked by reporters about the current status of the remaining packages, company acting chief executive officer Muhammad Fadzil Abdul Hamid said they are subject to the financial capability of the government.

“We’re still waiting for the government to decide on the 23 packages,” he said.

Earlier in his presentation, he explained that the government chose the PDP (project delivery partner) model for such a massive project because it wanted to implement it within five years.

“The government does not have the capacity to deliver such a massive project in a short time. So it decided on the PDP model to leverage on the capability of the private sector,” he said, adding that the PDP has so far engaged nearly 50 consultants most of whom are Sabahans. 

In December last year, Sabah Infrastructure Development Minister Datuk Peter Anthony had reportedly announced the state government’s intention to take over the construction of the Pan Borneo Highway.

He expressed belief that the state government was capable of taking over and in the process, would save up RM2 billion.

He had also said that the project needed a new approach to ensure its smooth progress and to avoid leakages.

The project’s first phase in Sabah began after its launch in April 2016 comprising 35 work packages worth RM12.8 billion to build 706km of roads from Sindumin to Tawau.

Earlier this year, Works Minister Baru Bian had said only 10 per cent of the project had been completed. 


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