RM8.5b for high-priority projects


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 08 Jul 2004

BY SUSAN TAM

PETALING JAYA: The Government has announced the approval of RM8.5bil worth of high-priority projects for speedy implementation. 

The Prime Minister said the country’s improved economic performance had encouraged the continued implementation of these projects, which would benefit the people. 

In a statement yesterday, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the funds would be disbursed as follows: 

·RM1.5bil to complete Phase Two of the East Coast Highway; 

·RM2bil for small projects through tenders relating mainly to the building of roads and schools; and 

·RM5bil for more than 50 projects for which letters of intent (LOIs) had already been issued. They involve mainly infrastructure development, education, housing and flood mitigation. 

The RM8.5bil is in addition to the RM4bil worth of projects approved up to the end of June. 

Abdullah, who is also Finance Minister, said the projects would benefit the people immensely.  

He said the decision to proceed with Phase Two of the East Coast Highway from Kuantan to Terengganu was to fulfil a socio-economic need. 

“The project is expected to stimulate economic growth in Terengganu specifically and the east coast generally,” he said.  

The first phase of the highway between Karak and Kuantan is expected to open on Aug 1. 

“With Phase Two, there will be a seamless connection by highway between Kuala Lumpur and Kuala Terengganu,” he added. 

He said Phase Two of the highway project would be divided into several packages with 70% of the contractual value, amounting to about RM1bil, tendered to bumiputra contractors. 

The remaining 30% would be awarded by direct negotiation to MTD Capital Bhd, which also completed the first phase. MTD Capital already holds the LOI for the implementation of Phase Two. 

Abdullah said to ensure that small contractors, including thos in Class F, would be given opportunities to take part in the project, MTD Capital would be required to appoint bumiputra contractors, especially those from Terengganu. 

”Companies which are successfully appointed through tenders will also be required to appoint bumiputra sub-contractors to maximise the spin-off effects,” he said. 

Abdullah said the Government would continue with its economic policies to ensure sustainable development. 

The economy had showed good performance following increases in domestic demand and exports, he said. 

This, he said, included placing emphasis on expenditure to meet socio-economic needs as well as maximising spin-off effects. 

“However, we remain committed to a gradual reduction in the budget deficit,” he said,. 

When contacted by The Star, Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop said it took the Treasury and the Economic Planning Unit “a few months to sort out the high-priority projects from the not-so-high priority projects.” 

“Now that this has been completed, and the Prime Minister has approved the first tranche of the high-priority projects, the Treasury will take action to ensure speedy implementation.” 

Analysts say the new funds for projects would particularly benefit small-time bumiputra contractors who depend on government contracts for a greater part of their business. 

Related Stories:Boost for mid-sized contractors 

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