The government says that an assessment of the Pan Borneo Highway will be carried out, and the review of the mechanism and direction of the project is expected sometime in early September, Bernama reports.

According to works minister Baru Bian, the ministry is set to appoint an independent consultant to review the implementation of the project involving the work packages carried out by the project contractor, based on best engineering practices.

“Last July 24, the ministry was directed by the finance ministry to review and reassess the cost and scope of the Sabah and Sarawak Pan Borneo highway project. The ministry has submitted a proposal to appoint an independent consultant to conduct the assessment,” he told the Dewan Rakyat.

Baru said this in reply to a question about the cost involved in hiring Borneo Highway PDP as the project delivery partner in Sabah. He explained that the estimated total project cost in Sabah was RM12.86 billion, which was divided into 35 work packages.

He said so far 12 out of the 35 work packages of the Sabah part of the Pan Borneo have been implemented while the remaining 23 work packages have yet to commence because it is either at the procurement stage, value management lab or design planning.

Work on the 2,325 km-long highway across Sarawak and Sabah, of which the first phase is due for completion in 2021, is currently ongoing, but most of the present construction is happening in Sarawak, with work on the 11 packages awarded under the first phase of the highway already underway.

It was reported in May that there was a possibility the 1,236 km Sabah portion could be scrapped. At the time, it was reported that the bulk of construction in the state had yet to be carried out, making it easier to be deferred.

While the first seven packages planned for the Sabah portion – worth RM3.2 billion – had been awarded, with construction work for five having begun, sources said that these were facing “huge cost overruns” and the previous federal government was already having problems justifying the cost.

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