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Baru Bian pledges to speed up payment for Pan-Borneo Highway contractors

KUCHING: The Works Ministry has pledged to speed up the payment process for work package contractors once it takes over the Pan-Borneo Highway project in Sarawak from Lebuhraya Borneo Utara Sdn Bhd (LBU) in February 2020.

Minister Baru Bian said the 10 main contractors for the 11 work packages were facing an average of three months' delay in payment, with the unpaid sums ranging from RM50mil to RM70mil.

"Some of them haven't been paid since July. They are very concerned because if they are not paid on time, how can they proceed well?" he told reporters after a session with the contractors on Wednesday (Nov 6).

He also said that according to the contractors, the payment process was currently taking too long.

"Under the agreement (with LBU), it is supposed to be paid within 80 days but apparently it takes more than 80 days. This is an area I'm examining at the moment," he said.

According to Baru, the state Public Works Department's (JKR) standard operating procedure was to pay within 30 days.

"I told the contractors that when we take over, we will make payment within 30 days," he said.

The ministry will take over from LBU, whose role as the project delivery partner was terminated in September, on Feb 19 next year.

A committee comprising the ministry and state JKR will manage the project, with the state JKR appointed to be the superintending officer.

Source: The Star