Federal government urges BALB project to speed up

Kuching: Public Works and Communications Minister Datuk Seri Julaihi Narawi has urged the federal government through the Ministry of Rural and Community Development (KKDW) to fast-track the implementation of the Sarawak Rural Water Supply Project (BALB).

The National Audit Office report is one of several audit reports into the management of the BALB project, funded by the Federal Government through KKDW.

“For your information, all pre-contractual processes including appointment of consultants, value management lab, invitation to bids, bid evaluation, award of contract and appointment of contractors are fully managed by the Federal Government through KKDW,” he said in a statement.

“But many projects are delayed due to bureaucracy and lengthy procedures,” he said.

For instance, a total of 12 BALB projects approved between 2016 and 2018 are taking significant time and construction is yet to commence as reported in the audit report.

“What I want to emphasise here is that, as stated earlier, the pre-contract procedures are entirely in charge of KKDW and the Sarawak Rural Water Supply Department is only involved in supervising the project,” Julaihi said.

The issue of delays in the implementation of the BALB project, which is funded by the Federal Government through KKDW, has been raised and explained by him on a number of occasions during the November 2023 and May 2024 sessions of the Sarawak State Assembly.

He further said these delays had resulted in planned projects not being implemented according to the schedule outlined in the Sarawak Water Supply Master Plan and Water Network.

“This is also affecting the people of Sarawak who have been waiting for water supply for a long time in their respective areas.”

He sincerely hopes that the Federal Government, through KKDW, will seriously consider the audit report.

Julaihi also suggested that KKDW’s allocation for the BALB project should be remitted directly to the implementing agency, Sarawak Rural Water Supply Board, using the Sarawak state government’s project implementation procedures and protocols.

“This is to cut down on bureaucracy and lengthy procedures, thereby speeding up the implementation of projects and ensuring that Sarawakians can enjoy the planned water supply,” he said.


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