Phase 1 of Sabah Pan Borneo Highway at 62% progression

The 1st phase of the project spans over 706km and is divided into 35 packages, deputy minister says

pic by BERNAMA

THE work progress for Phase 1 of the Sabah Pan Borneo Highway was at 62% as at October for the 12 packages that have appointed contractors for the development.

Deputy Works Minister Datuk Arthur Joseph Kurup said the first phase of the project spans over 706km and was divided into 35 packages.

“To date, 12 packages have appointed contractors for the construction and as at October 2021, the progress stood at 62%,” he told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

He was responding to a question from Sandakan MP Vivian Wing Shir Yee who asked for the latest updates on packages 28, 29 and 30 of the project which runs from Telupid to Beluran, Sabah.

The deputy minister said the letter of acceptance for packages 28, 29 and 30 was issued on Sept 13, 2021, and construction works for the route from Sandakan Mile 32 and Sungai Baoto had just started.

Arthur said the packages involved the construction of a 58km road with a cost of RM877 million.

“The road construction work for the overall project will involve an upgrade from single carriageway to dual carriageway as well as the building of three new bridges and an elevated interchange.

“Upon completion, this route will provide convenience, toll-free and safe land access especially for residents in Beluran. It will also facilitate the logistics of agricultural products in Telupid and boost tourism activities in Sandakan,” he said.

Meanwhile, Arthur said the Works Ministry had sent three proposals to the Finance Ministry (MoF) to assist contractors who are working on government projects amid the price hike in building materials.

He said the proposals include extending the number of building materials into the list of variation of price (VOP) to 23 materials from the previous six.

“The ministry had also proposed for the VOP to be extended for design and construction work contracts as well as an extension of the VOP until the end of next year,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat.

Arthur was replying to a question from Labuan MP Datuk Rozman Isli who asked for the ministry to review the cost of government projects following the price hike in building materials.

He said the increase in prices is mainly due to the difficulties faced in obtaining imported raw materials caused by the global lockdown.

Based on a study done by the Department of Statistics Malaysia from January 2021 until August 2021, there was an increase in the cost index at a rate of between 3% and 19% nationwide due to the pandemic and rising global market prices.

“As a result of the increase in prices, the government had re-implemented VOP onto contracts for government projects as approved by the MoF for contracts from Jan 1, 2021, until Dec 31, 2021.

“This circular is effective for all government conventional work contracts from Jan 1, 2021, until Dec 31, 2021, that encompasses construction works, civil engineering, and mechanical and electrical for works based on quotations and contracts worth RM500,000 and above,” he said.

On the proposed extension of VOP for design and construction projects from Sept 1, 2021, Arthur said the ministry is still waiting for MoF’s consideration on the matter.