DAP: Why no open tender for highway?

KUCHING: Sarawak DAP has questioned why no open tender was called for the recently launched Pan Borneo Highway project.

Its chairman, Chong Chieng Jen, said the total project cost of RM27bil for the 1,663km highway spanning Sarawak and Sabah was a large sum.

“This is equivalent to RM16mil per km. It’s a very high cost. Why was it awarded through direct negotiation instead of open tender?” he told reporters at a press conference yesterday.

Chong also raised concerns about Lebuhraya Borneo Utara Sdn Bhd (LBU), which will undertake the development of the highway in Sarawak.

“LBU was only formed in 2011, having zero construction or trading record. Both its shareholding companies were formed in 2012 and also have no construction or trading record,” he said.

He also urged the government to ensure that the shareholders and directors of LBU included a reasonable proportion of the state’s racial composition.

He said this would be in line with the Dayak Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s wishes that a significant portion of the 30% contract value meant for bumiputra participation in the highway project would be given to Dayak contractors.

The first phase of the Pan Borneo Highway in Sarawak was launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak last month, comprising the upgrading of the 43km Nyabau-Bakun road.

The remaining sections of the project, connecting Tanjung Datu to Miri and Tedungan to Merapok, are scheduled to be completed by mid-2023.

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