ACA report lodged on RM565 mln road project
The Anti- Corruption Agency (ACA) office in Tawau yesterday received a report from a former State Minister to investigate the newly completed RM565 million 179-kilometre Sapulut-Kalabakan Road. Parti Keadilan Rakyat leader Datuk Kong Hong Ming in his report called on ACA to investigate should there be any corrupt practices and abuse of power on the construction, which he described had failed to meet the design and build contract for a bituminous sealed road. He also said the road construction project by the Federal Government through the Public Works Department was supposed to be a permanent bituminous road with sealed pavement. Stressing this in his report to ACA, Kong added that the contractual obligations of the contractor in a design and build contract required the contractor to provide the design, scope of work and specifications to be approved by the Government and to build according to the approved design, scope of work and specifications. Thereafter, based on negotiation between the Government and the contractor, the Government awarded the design and build contract at the negotiated contract sum, in this case, RM565 million for 179 kilometers of sealed road with bituminous pavement. In a design and build contract like this one, the contractor is not permitted to amend or vary the design and scope of work, and that the contractor must complete the contract in full conformity with the approved design and scope of work without variation order. The Sapulut-Kalabakan Road was completed early this year and the contractor had demobiised from the site recently. However, instead of building 179 kilometers of bituminous pavement serving as a major trunk road linking the south and north of Sabah, the completed version was only a stretch of standard gravel road wholly contrary to the design, and build contract for a bituminous sealed road. Before the design and build contract, the existing road was already a good gravel road built and used by timber operators for logging activities. “I also urge ACA experts to investigate into the very sub- standard and extremely poor quality of work done and workmanship carried out in this mega project costing Malaysian taxpayers some RM565 million. “It is just too plain and obvious in inspecting the newly completed retaining structures and concrete roadside drains which are already now in such deplorable conditions. It is a crime to allow such shoddy workmanship and inferior work in this expensive project. What was the basis for the Government to accept the road as practically and satisfactorily completed?” he asked. Stressing it as a case of outrageous and scandalous wrongdoing, Kong added that it was also more than just a serious wastage and abuse of public funds. “It has also deprived all Malaysians, especially Sabahans in Tawau of a good system of road network in furtherance of our social and economic development. Those who were responsible for the suffering of the people must be held accountable for this tragic loss of public funds and blatant abuse of power. “It will be more outrageous for us especially the ACA, to ignore it,” he said.