KUCHING, Nov 26 — The Sarawak-Sabah Link Road (SSLR) project is not included in the Jana Wibawa programme, an economic generation programme to empower competent Bumiputera contractors, as alleged by Sepanggar MP Datuk Mohd Azis Jamman, the Works Ministry said.
It said in a statement today that the decision to award the project through direct negotiations was approved by the Finance Ministry in January 2020 with the agreement of the seventh and eighth prime ministers and the support of a former Works Minister.
“The selection of Samling Resources Sdn Bhd — a subsidiary of the Samling Group — was made by the government based on consideration of competitive pricing factors and work experience as well as the logistics facilities offered by the company,” it explained.
In a press conference in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, Azis had called on the Finance Ministry to provide an explanation on the implementation of the Jana Wibawa Programme with regards to a direct negotiation contract awarded to Samling Resources Sdn Bhd to build the RM1.13 billion Sarawak-Sabah Link Road, from the Long Lopeng junction in Lawas.
Following an investigation he made through the Companies Commission Malaysian, he said there was no record of the company (Samling Resources Sdn Bhd) and he instead found a Samling Ecovast Sdn Bhd, which is a joint venture company between Samling Resources Bhd and Ecovast Berhad.
“The results also show that Samling Resources is not a Bumiputera company,” he said, and asked why the project in question was given to a non-Bumiputera company.
The Works Ministry said today that the SSLR project study was implemented in 2007 with the objective of building an alternative road connecting Sarawak and Sabah without going through the neighbouring country, Brunei Darussalam.
“This project involves a distance of more than 300km with an estimated total cost of RM4.5 billion.
“Taking into account the high cost of the project, the construction of this project should be implemented in stages. Therefore, the first phase of this project was approved in 2019, namely in the Third Rolling Plan of the 11th Plan, with an overall allocation ceiling for phase 1 of RM1.2 billion,” it said.
The ministry further explained that the Phase 1 of SSLR involves the construction of a 77km JKR R3 standard road from Lawas town to the Long Lopeng junction.
It was awarded in direct consultation to Samling Resources Sdn Bhd in September 2021 with a contract price of RM1.13 billion, it said.
On another matter brought up by Azis on a listed company Kimlun Sdn Bhd’s involvement in the project, the ministry informed that it is a Named Sub-Contractor (NSC) appointed by the main contractor (Samling Resources Sdn Bhd) for the scope of construction work with a price of RM780 million.
“The subcontract price does not include other costs in the implementation of the project such as land acquisition costs, utility diversion costs, consultant costs and other incidental costs,” it said. — Borneo Post Online