KUCHING: Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam are firming up their discussions on the implementation of the Pan Borneo Highway phase II project, said Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof.
He said the Malaysian Government was currently looking into the details of the technical and financial aspects of the phase II project that would involve the construction of roads in Limbang and Lawas in northern Sarawak that border Brunei.
“Once we agree on the details, we can start the phase II project,” he told reporters after launching the SME Bank special financing package to support the Pan Borneo Highway project here yesterday.
Chief Secretary to the government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa and his delegation were recently in northern Sarawak to identify the ideal point for a new customs,immigration and quarantine complex (CIQ) along the stretch of road under the phase II project. The delegation was also in Brunei Daruusalam for discussion on the matter with government officials there.
The present CIQ complex between Sarawak and Brunei is at Sungai Tujoh,Miri.
Under Phase I project, Lebuhraya Borneo Utara Sdn Bhd (LBU) has awarded all the 11 work packages for some RM16.1bil.
Twelve public-listed companies both from Sarawak and Peninsula Malaysia were among 21 firms that secured construction work contracts for this single biggest and most ambitious infrastructure project for both Sarawak and Sabah. The packages are in various stages of implementation.
Fadillah said the highway project on Sarawak side would involve the construction of dual carriageway extending 1,089km.
He said the government was studying the possibility of including Tebedu-Serian as part of the highway project so that it could be a link to Pontianak on west Kalimantan side. Tebedu is the border town on Sarawak side.
Once that proposed link is established, he said this could spur economic expansion between Sarawak and west Kalimantan.
According to Fadillah, 30% of the construction works for the Pan Borneo Highway project would be awarded to bumiputra contractors, and that some 492 Class A to E contractors had been appointed.
On the payment to contractors involved in the project, he assured them that the money to finance the project was in place and that payments to the contractors would be made between two and three months.
Earlier in his speech, SME Bank group managing director Datuk Mohd Radzif Mohd Yunus said the special financial package was designed exclusively for G1 to G7 contractors or vendors who were awarded the contracts in both Sarawak and Sabah.
Among the packages offered are the contract financing and i-Reach or rolling expenditure advance cash scheme.
He said as an added incentive, SME Bank would provide an early disbursement of 15% from the total approved financing to meet the the financial needs of the contractors to ensure the smooth implementation of construction works.
“For a single customer, the ceiling of the financing is RM50mil. We do not put any special allocation (for this financial package).We have already received three to four applications,” said Mohd Radzif.