KUCHING: Petra Jaya MP Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof should not have made baseless allegation against the Minister of Finance Lim Guan Eng regarding the Pan Borneo Highway development.
In stating this, Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen, who is also Pakatan Harapan (PH) Sarawak chairman, said Fadillah should instead question the reason behind the Sarawak government’s agreement to the termination of the Pan Borneo Highway project delivery partner (PDP) contracts.
Chong also said Fadillah, who had held the federal Works Minister’s portfolio before, owed ‘Sarawakians and Malaysians’ some explanation on why the government, under the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) ruling coalition, had entered into ‘such a ridiculously expensive and excessive PDP agreement’.
“Fadillah’s claim that the estimated costs under the PDP agreement would only be RM15.13 billion, is not only a baseless accusation against Lim Guan Eng, but also an assault against the state government under GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) coalition.
“If it were true that under the PDP agreement, the total costs of the Pan Borneo Highway project in Sarawak would only be RM15.13 billion as claimed by Fadillah, why then would the GPS government agree to the termination of the said PDP agreement and decide to replace it with the conventional method, which would incur an estimated cost of RM18.8 billion?
“Therefore, before Fadillah starts making baseless accusation against the federal government, my advice to him is to seek clarification from his own GPS government,” said Chong in a statement issued yesterday.
He further said on Feb 6 this year, at the Ministry of Finance (MoF) office in Putrajaya, the Sarawak government was represented by the State Secretary together with the top management of Public Works Department (JKR) Sarawak to sign the termination of the PDP agreement; the federal government was represented by the MoF.
“The rationale behind the termination of the PDP agreement is that by removing the said PDP, it would reduce the costs of implementation of the whole Pan Borneo Highway project in Sarawak, from an estimated RM21.9 billion to RM18.8 billion – (representing) a saving of RM3.1 billion for the government.
“This saving of RM3.1 billion would then be channelled back to Sarawak for other projects for the benefit of Sarawak,” said Chong.
He then argued that to appreciate how such saving could be achieved via the termination of the PDP agreement, one must know the amount payable by the government to the PDP under the said agreement.
“Under the said agreement, the PDP would be paid a fee of 5.5 per cent of the total project costs.
“In addition, the PDP would also be fully reimbursed on all expenses, including payout of employees’ salaries and allowances, as well as all other expenses incurred.
“That is why, upon the removal of the PDP and reverting the implementation of the project to the conventional method, the government could save an estimated RM3.1 billion.
“Not only would the government have the saving of the 5.5 per cent fee, it would also save from the excessive reimbursement of the expenses of the PDP,” claimed Chong.
Source: Borneo Post