KUCHING: The Sarawak government was forced into agreeing to the termination of the Project Delivery Partner (PDP) agreement for the state portion of the Pan Borneo Highway project, Petra Jaya MP Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof has claimed.
“What choice do you have when you are given the choice between signing the agreement to cancel and not receiving any of the pre-agreed funding for the project to continue?” the Gabungan Parti Sarawak’s (GPS) chief whip said in a statement.
Fadillah compared the PDP termination to the situation when the Sarawak government was “arm-twisted” to pay RM1 billion as advance payment in stages to the federal government before the repairing of dilapidated schools in the state would be carried out.
He said this was despite the RM1 billion sum already approved in Budget 2018 under the previous Barisan National (BN) government.
The former Works Minister, meanwhile, asked Pakatan Harapan Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen not to confuse the matter with Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s statement, where the latter remarked that the cancellation of Pan Borneo Sarawak PDP contracts will contribute to savings of RM3.1 billion from the estimated cost of RM21.9 billion.
“As confirmed by Federal Works Minister Baru Bian in Parliament on March 26 2019, the original targeted cost of the project was RM16.48 billion.
“Subsequently, the PDP was able to further reduce the cost of the highway project for the Sarawak portion to RM15.13 billion, via cost optimisation and efficiency savings while maintaining the original project completion date of end 2021.”
Fadillah pointed out there was never any accusation the project delivery was delayed or the project cost exceeded budget.
“So how can the newly-announced cost of RM18.8 billion (by Lim) be considered a reduction of RM3.1 billion from the previous cost of RM15.13 billion?” he said, referring to the revised costs figure from the PDP.
On the contrary, Fadillah said the RM18.8 billion cost announced by Lim was actually an increase of RM3.67 billion from the RM15.13 billion given by the PDP.
He added the cancellation of the PDP model and the changes announced by Lim would result in the Pan Borneo Sarawak project facing a real risk of being delayed from its original targeted date of completion by end of 2021.
It also creates uncertainties that the project’s costs might be much higher than the current RM15.13 billion targeted costs, he added.
“When that happens, all Sarawakians should know that Chong is equally responsible,” said Fadillah.
Source: Borneo Post