Frankly Speaking: Put them on watch list

This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on August 13, 2018 - August 19, 2018.
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Last Wednesday, Zecon Bhd announced that it had received a notice of termination from the Public Works Department (PWD) for the construction of Hospital Petra Jaya in Kuching. The Sarawak-based construction firm is of the opinion that the purported termination is wrongful and has sought legal advice.

To recap, a RM495 million contract was awarded to Zecon by PWD in April 2013 to build a hospital within 42 months, which means a completion date of November 2016.

But as at June this year, only one third had been completed. The delay of almost two years has contributed to overcrowding at the Sarawak General Hospital.

Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said last month that the Cabinet had agreed in principle to dismiss Zecon for failing to finish the project in time and that PWD would take over as the main contractor.

This has raised the question of why action was not taken against Zecon until now. Was there no one in the PWD to oversee such matters?

The termination of the job is a warning to other contractors that perform poorly. Apart from that, the government should consider putting them on a watch list to ensure delays such as this will not be repeated.

Meanwhile, Zecon owes its shareholders an explanation on what caused the delay.

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