LUNDU, June 28 — The people have been urged to be patient and to understand the reasons behind the delay in the implementation and completion of the Rural Transformation Projects (RTPs) across the country.
Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister and Santubong MP Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said that the delay was triggered by the Covid-19 outbreak which hit the country and not due to the government or contractors’ part.
“Therefore, I ask the people to understand the reason for this delay as it is neither the will of the government, nor the will of contractors and people’s representatives. I also strongly denounce the claim that the government has no money,” he told the media while inspecting 18 Bailey bridges along Jalan Lundu-Sempadi here today.
He said the allocation for the project was still there, while the Public Works Department (JKR) was in charge of designing the project and looking for contractors, however workers were not allowed to go to the project site during the implementation of the movement control order (MCO).
He said the government had to halt the construction work for the health and safety of workers and the people.
Wan Junaidi said the construction of the eight reinforced concrete bridges to replace the existing Bailey bridges along a 36km stretch of Jalan Lundu-Sempadi would cost RM96 million, while the Rambungan bridge along the same route would cost RM98 million.
He said that the construction of all the bridges, including the Rambungan bridge, used state government funds after the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government withdrew funds funds that had been approved by the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government for the said project.
Wan Junaidi said that construction of the bridges began on November 26, 2018 and was expected to be completed on November 26 next year, but has been delayed for three months due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
He said that all bridges except the Rambungan bridge had yet to resume construction work as many of its engineers were from China, including from Wuhan, who had yet to return here due to the pandemic.
Once completed, the bridges would connect Kuching, Lundu and Sematan as well as to the Pan Borneo Highway, apart from contributing to rural transformation and facilitating in the planning of government projects in the districts, he said. — Bernama