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Build Sabah Pan Borneo Highway Without Malayan For Better Quality

Kota Kinabalu:    “The Sabah government should insist that the Sabah section of the Pan Borneo Highway be built without any Malayan companies as the main contractor to avoid skimming of the contract sum and ending with lower quality roads.   It should learn from the Sarawak road quality experience” said Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, STAR Sabah Chief in commenting on Datuk Ghafur Salleh’s disclosure that UEM-MMC is to be the main contractor in Sabah unlike the Sarawak government’s insistence that no Malayan Umno companies or cronies be involved in the Sarawak section.

If one were to take a leisurely drive in Lawas, Sarawak, some 850km. from Kuching, one would notice that the roads in Lawas are wider by 2 feet and of better quality than similar roads in Sabah.   Not only are Sabah roads narrower, they are full of potholes even in Kota Kinabalu.

Analysts suggest that the road quality problems in Sabah is mainly due to main contracts being awarded to Umno-linked non-Sabahan companies who then take large commissions and amounts from the contract sums leaving razor-thin low margins for the sub-contractors.  When the sub-sub-sub-contracts reach the ultimate work sub-contractors in Sabah, many are forced to cut corners due to low prices and sub-standard and poor quality roads is the end-result.

In Sarawak, they do not allow Umno-linked companies to be involved and due to the non-skimming at the top, there are better prices for Sarawak contractors. 

It was not surprising and wise for the Sarawak government to name Lebuhraya Borneo Utara Sdn. Bhd. to undertake the Sarawak portion of the Pan Borneo Highway and to reject any involvement by the Malayan Umno-linked companies.

Of course, there is no Umno in Sarawak and the Sarawak BN is in a better position to dictate terms to Putrajaya compared to Sabah which is lead managed by Sabah Umno.

Regardless of whether they are from Umno or not, the Sabah government should adopt a similar stand to reject any Malayan company involvement in the Sabah Pan-Borneo Highway, to ensure Sabah contractors benefit from the construction and to prevent skimming of the contract sums.  

At the same time, perhaps, better quality roads will be built in Sabah.   Better profits for Sabah contractors will also be a booster to the Sabah economy.

Will the Sabah government and Sabah Umno stand up to the bosses in Putrajaya for the benefit of Sabah and stop Umno Malaya companies from continuing to rob Sabah and Sabahans as well said by Datuk Ghafur in Parliament?

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