The Pan Borneo Highway (PBH) project must go on to benefit the people of Sabah in transforming the economic landscape with its significant spin-off effect, particularly for the low-income group.
Stressing this, Association of Consulting Engineers Malaysia (Acem) Sabah Branch's Immediate Past Chairman Ir. Amirul Hisham Ismail said the new State Government should make sure the project is continued.
He said the State Government should also intervene and improve the current delivery system to pave the way forward for the sustainable development of the infrastructure in the State as well as strengthening the local construction industry with the introduction of modern and innovative technologies and capacity building of human capital.
Conveying his heartiest congratulations to Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, he hoped the new Chief Minister will bring changes, in particular, the engineering fraternity to be ready not only for the local arena but also internationally.
"Since the PBH inception in 2016, the project has undergone a series of interaction with various parties - Borneo Highway PDP (BHP), Lead Consultants (LC), Detail Engineering Design Consultants (DEDC) and Independent Checker (IC) where Value Management, Value Engineering, Harmonisation and Rationalisation meetings, etc, were conducted as the necessary prerequisites to provide best value of money for the project," said Amirul.
"The engineering input has been given to Borneo Highway PDP (BHP) collectively by most of Acem panel firms in preparation for the construction stage.
"From the total 35 packages worth RM12.8 billion, 10 packages have been awarded to date while the remaining 25 packages are still in the design stage pending tender award and then construction."
However, Amirul pointed out that some loose ends in the model of the Project Delivery Partner (PDP) could be revisited and reviewed to improve the delivery system and possibly on time and cost savings.
"The industry does acknowledge the concern of the Federal Government on cost overruns, etc.
"However, it is hoped that the implementation of the project is given the top priority because Sabah is still very far behind all other states in terms of infrastructure development.
"In this Pan Borneo project, many important and pertinent lessons were learned in line with capacity building for the local consulting engineers. There are weaknesses that can be rectified to improve the deliverance of the project as a whole and to provide a viable business model for the aspiring local consulting engineering fraternity. "