State PWD can handle Sarawak’s RM11b road projects, DAP rep tells Najib

Violet Yong Wui Wui (left) defended her criticism over the appointment of OPUS Consultants as project management consultant for Sarawak’s RM11 billion coastal road network. — Picture by Sulok Tawie
Violet Yong Wui Wui (left) defended her criticism over the appointment of OPUS Consultants as project management consultant for Sarawak’s RM11 billion coastal road network. — Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, May 6 — Violet Yong Wui Wui defended today her criticism of an external firm’s award as project management consultant (PMC), saying the state Public Works Department (PWD) is capable of taking on the RM11 billion Sarawak coastal road network.

The Pending state lawmaker from DAP today was responding to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak who questioned her over her criticism on the appointment of OPUS, a consultancy arm of UEM Edgenda Bhd as PMC for the coastal road network and the second trunk road projects.                          

“Just for initial package of the PMC contract sum is already cost RM50 million,” she said, adding that the total contract sum could reach RM165 million to RM198 million.

Yong’s critical remarks on OPUS were made during the debate at the opening of the Sarawak Assembly on May 2.

Yong said she opposed the appointment of OPUS as PMC, adding that if the state PWD is unable to cope, due to a heavy workload, then the consultancy work should be awarded to local engineering firms.

Yong said there are over 200 local engineering firms who could do the job, if they are given the opportunity by the state government.

“I need to highlight that appointing a PMC for projects should be based on necessity,” she said, adding that the appointment should to be done in a fair manner, through a transparent process.

“As we all know, the amount in question is not small and the appointment needs to be justifiable on all fronts.

“As to the argument that OPUS Consultants (M) Sdn Bhd is Khazanah and government-owned is an argument that holds no water for me. I believe it is also not to the satisfactory of most Sarawakians,” Yong added.

On his Facebook page, the former prime minister had said he did not know if Yong was insinuating something to Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

He had said she was questioning why the Sarawak government had to spend a consultant fee she considered excessive for two road projects costing RM11 billion.

“She alleged that the fee of RM50 million payable to OPUS Consultants (M) Sdn Bhd does not make sense,” said Najib.

According to Najib, OPUS is owned by UEM Edgenta Bhd which in turn is 70 per cent owned by which UEM Berhad.

Najib claimed UEM Berhad was 100 per cent owned by Khazanah Nasional Berhad, whose chairman of board of directors is Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Najib asked the people to compare the consultant fee of RM50 million for RM11 billion worth of projects belonging to the Sarawak government with that of RM305 million (consultant fee) for PH Finance Ministry’s pet tunnel project costing only RM6.3 billion, belonging 100 per cent to the private sector.

He then asked which was more excessive and asked Yong to send a WeChat message to Guan Eng immediately to apologise before it was too late.