LegCo told of rising number of incomplete growth projects

National 2 minutes, 36 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THE increasing number of incomplete development projects caught the attention of the State Legislative Council as the issue was raised, where Minister of Development Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Abdullah Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar said that the projects were left unfinished due to contractors not meeting expectations and delays in the delivery of construction materials.

Speaking to the press after the meeting yesterday afternoon, Pehin Dato Hj Abdullah said that the Sultanate had seen a lot of these projects abandoned halfway as of late. Although, he did not specify a figure, he remarked that it is "more than what we should be facing".

He said that part of the problem was awarding tenders to contractors based on their bid and not whether they were established or not.

"In my opinion, in the past, we have been giving too many tenders to the lowest bidders," he told reporters. "Sometimes from the (amount of the) bid, we can see that they might encounter problems in carrying out the project."

Pehin Dato Hj Abdullah said one of the solutions would be to assess the contractors and, if necessary, award the tender to the contractor who has proven that they can carry out the job and not always to the lowest bidder.

He went on to say that the ministry was also taking the initiative to raise the level of performance of these contractors by making courses available for them. He noted that a majority of these contractors who could not deliver were local companies.

He added that if contractors were facing problems in carrying out the project, the ministry would give them an extension on their completion date. However, if they are still unsuccessful, the ministry would have to terminate the contract.

The minister was responding to an issue raised by appointed council member Dato Paduka Hj Puasa Orang Kaya Seri Pahlawan Tudin, who also asked on the status of the Developer's Act, a piece of legislation that monitors the activities of house and land developers.

Dato Paduka Hj Puasa said that the matter had to be resolved urgently as the country has been experiencing natural phenomena, such as floods and landslides, which have damaged properties.

In certain cases, he said that developers were given the go-ahead by the relevant authority to elevate the ground level of land lots gazetted for development to a height where the surrounding lots are inundated with water during times of heavy rain.

He said that the blame was not only on the developers but also on the agency, who should be outlaying the conditions and taking into account the implications of the project, that approved for this development is also at fault.

In response to this, Pehin Dato Hj Abdullah said that the Developer's Act is still under view and is being updated and changed accordingly, thus its delay.

He said that uncontrolled development existed due to the weakness in the enforcement of development standards. He said that the standard had to be thorough, and upheld by strict enforcement.

The Brunei Times