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PM: We don’t need ‘Kuching eyesore’ in 9MP

KUCHING: Delayed for nine years and only 40% completed despite RM200mil having been spent by the Government, the prisons complex project here is an example of what the Prime Minister will not tolerate in the Ninth Malaysia Plan.

Describing the abandoned project as “Kuching’s eyesore,” Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said it had all the ingredients of irresponsible implementation, resulting in “a shameful waste of funds, materials and time.”

“The supervision was poor, the contractor did not follow specifications, and the consultant failed to monitor the progress. As a result, this is what you get: delays and shoddy work,” he said.

“These things should not happen in any of the 9MP projects. I want dual monitoring of projects – by the appointed consultants and by the Public Works Department,” he told reporters after opening the new Universiti Malaysia Sarawak campus in Kota Samarahan.
Asked if the PWD had failed to supervise construction of the prison, he said the project was only handed over to the department after it became “sick.”

“This was a privatised project, so the PWD had no jurisdiction over it,” he said.
The 48ha project was first awarded to WMM Holdings Sdn Bhd in 1997 for RM165mil to build cells for 500 male and 150 female prisoners, staff quarters and a rehabilitation school, among other facilities.

Scheduled for completion by August 2000, it was meant to ease overcrowding at the present jail in the city centre built in 1882.

However, the WMM Holdings contract was terminated in July 2002 after the project was abandoned.

The federal PWD then took over and gave it to TSR Bina Sdn Bhd in September 2004 for RM54.7mil, with completion set for this yearend. However, the company is now asking for RM43.7mil more and the completion date to be extended to September next year.
Abdullah, who visited the site on Monday, said he would make a decision after looking at the ACA report on the matter.

Sarawak was the second state after Perlis that the Prime Minister visited in his nationwide tour to explain the 9MP to the people. Abdullah left for Putrajaya last night, after two days in Sarawak.

Source: TheStar.com.my

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