KUALA LUMPUR (April 10): The Sabah portion of the Pan Borneo Highway should be under the purview of the federal government, namely the ministry of works, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Dr Mahathir, however, did not provide any details on the Sarawak portion.
This confirms the article published by The Edge Malaysia weekly last month that reported that Putrajaya is mulling taking over the control of Pan Borneo Highway Sabah.
The cabinet, however, “has not discussed” the way forward for the Sarawak portion of the highway, he told the media outside the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
“This [project] involves a lot of money. We are careful about how money is spent.
“We thought the Sabah portion should be overseen, not by this agency, but by the federal JKR (Malaysian Public Works Department). That is as far as we have got,” he said in response to the question on whether the cabinet has come out with a decision on the implementation model of the project.
The previous government has adopted the project delivery partner (PDP) model for the mega infrastructure project. The PDP for the 700km-long Sabah portion, Borneo Highway PDP Sdn Bhd (BHP), was first appointed to implement Phase 1 of Pan Borneo Highway Sabah in April 2016.
The Edge Financial Daily on March 21 reported that the ministry of works will take over the RM29 billion Pan Borneo Highway project in light of cost overruns under the current implementation structure, quoting sources.
According to the report, Putrajaya will replace the PDP model in favour of turnkey contractors to complete the remaining construction works for the 2,324km project.
Dr Mahathir’s comment hinted at yet another delay with regards to the changes in Pan Borneo Highway’s implementation model from the current PDP model.
As at March 27, the Sarawak portion is currently 38% complete, with original deadline set for June 30, 2021, whereas the Sabah portion is 12% complete to-date with the deadline set for Dec 31, 2021.
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on April 10, 2019.
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