Works minister: New timeline for completion of Sarawak’s Pan Borneo Highway is June 2022

Works Minister Baru Bian (left) handing over letter of appointment to state PWD director Datuk Zuraimi Sabki for state PWD as superintending officer, February 20, 2020. ― Picture by Sulok Tawie
Works Minister Baru Bian (left) handing over letter of appointment to state PWD director Datuk Zuraimi Sabki for state PWD as superintending officer, February 20, 2020. ― Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, Feb 20 — The federal Works Ministry has set June 2022 as the new timeline for the completion of Sarawak’s stretch of the Pan Borneo Highway project, its minister Baru Bian said today.

“According to the schedule of completion date by the highway’s project delivery partner (PDP) Lebuhraya Borneo Utara Sdn Bhd (LBU), the completion date is June 30, 2021.

“Since there is a delay, the new date varies from May 2022 to August 2022 based on the engagement by the state Public Works Department (PWD) with the PDP’s work package contractors (WPCs).

“But on my ministry’s side, our timeline of the completion date in June 2022,” Baru told reporters after handing over a letter of appointment to the state PWD as the highway’s superintending officer here.

State PWD director Datuk Zuraimi Sabki, who was present at the press conference, said his side will need to go further with the WPCs on the reasons for the delay.

He said currently the progress of the construction is 44.21 per cent against the targeted 47.82 per cent.

“We need to look further into this and to verify the progress of construction. Based on the progress up to January this year, the delay will be up to December 31, 2021,” he said.

Zuraimi said the state PWD does not have many details on the Pan Borneo Highway because its relationship with the PDP is not that close.

“But hopefully, we can know more about the details from WPCs on the reasons for the delay,” he said, adding that from the brief engagement with the WPCs, most of them came up with different dates of completion.

Meanwhile, Baru also announced that the highway’s cost capping has been revised from RM21.9 billion to RM21.857 billion and the conventional project cost at RM18.992 billion, a difference of RM2.865 billion, instead of RM3.1 billion as previously announced by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

He said the actual cost of the highway will be known upon its completion.

“At the end of the day, when we have completed the whole project, we are still hoping to be able to reduce the actual cost,” he said.

On the figure RM16.48 billion which he stated in Parliament last year, he explained it was the total cost of the project, excluding other costs such compensation for land acquisition.

“So if you add up all those costs, the cost will come up to RM21.857 billion.

“If you read my response in Parliament, I used the figure RM16.488 billion and that was also correct because I did not add in other costs,” he said.

On the compensation to be paid to LBU, Baru said it will be sorted out after this.

“We are still in the process of talking and negotiating with them. Any legitimate, lawful and equitable claims should be paid under the PDP agreement, definitely we have to honour,” he said, before adding that at the moment, he is unable to provide the amount of compensation to be paid to the PDP.

He said his officers are liaising with the PDP.

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