Saturday, January 10, 2009




Two contractors have been penalised for failing to complete the upgrading works on the Tanjung Aru-Tenom railway tracks on time.

Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Lajim Ukin, in disclosing this yesterday, said as at 31 December last year, over RM2.5 million in penalty was imposed on the contractors - Suria Capital Holdings Bhd (SCHB) and Hikmat Asia Sdn Bhd (HASB).

The upgrading project is divided into two sectors with SCHB handling Sector 1 that covers the route between Tanjung Aru and Kimanis, and HASB handling Sector 2 that covers the Kimanis-Tenom route.

Lajim said Sector 1 was scheduled to be completed on Aug 15 last year but was delayed by 137 days, while Sector 2 was delayed by 83 days from its expected completion date on Oct 10 last year.

The liquidated ascertain damages for SCHB was RM9,600 per day while HASB faced a daily penalty of RM14,500.

“We have granted extension up to Feb 12 this year but both contractors are asking for more time. We cannot decide, it is up to them to make fresh applications,” he told reporters after a briefing by the project consultants for Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) and Sabah Railway Department (SRD) here.

Lajim said the contractors have blamed on-site problems such as complaints from the public and the wet weather for the delay.

The upgrading works, which started on 24 November 2005 with allocation amounting to RM334.8 million from the Federal Government, became controversial following public complaints, which among others included traffic congestion and safety issues.

“I am here to listen and help find solutions to overcome the existing problems; we are doing our level best to ensure the people’s interest is protected while ensuring the project will run smoothly,” said Lajim, who also inspected the progress of the railway project at Putatan and Petagas.

“This is a project to benefit the people and the huge allocation from the Federal Government shows its commitment to help promote Sabah as a tourist destination. There are a lot of attractions along the routes such as the Sabah Agriculture Park at Lagud Sebrang in Tenom and the whitewater rafting in Beaufort,” he said.

Also at the briefing were Putatan Member of Parliament Datuk Marcus Mojigoh and representatives from SCHB, HASB, KTMB, SRD and project consultants.

“I believe we have come up with solutions to several problems,” he said.

Asked whether the Government is considering to expand railway tracks to other districts, Lajim said: “For now, we want to overcome problems concerning this (Tanjung Aru-Tenom) project. But we may want to build (railroad) elsewhere in the future; we will never know.”