Selangor Journal
The Sungai Semenyih retention pond (Pond C) project under the Raw Water Security Scheme (SJAM) initiative located in Jenderam Hilir, Dengkil, on February 16, 2023. — Picture by NUR ADIBAH AHMAD IZAM/SELANGORKINI

Select committee wants action against errant contractors after SJAM implementation delay

By Danial Dzulkifly

SHAH ALAM, March 7 — The Selangor Special Select Committee on Water Management, Agriculture, Infrastructure, and Mobility (Infragro) is urging the state administration to take stricter actions against companies failing to comply with conditions set out in their contracts for public-related projects.

This is after a contractor responsible for works on Package A of the Raw Water Guarantee Scheme (SJAM) project failed to meet its deadline, delaying the initiative’s implementation.

Addressing the State Legislative Assembly, Infragro committee chairman Michelle Ng Mei Sze recommended the state government reprimand the contractor in question, Menta Sdn Bhd.

She also expressed dissatisfaction with the answers provided by the company during a hearing conducted by her committee on the project’s delayed status.

Among other things, Ng proposed the state allow an audit to be conducted by the National Audit Department, tighten due diligence and enforcement on compliance with the tender agreement, and require the payment of liquidated damages for breach of contract.

She also suggested the state refrain from appointing underperforming companies that bid for future government contracts, especially for public interest projects.

“Shareholders and board members of these companies should undergo close scrutiny, and contracts should also not be awarded to companies sharing the same members.

“We also propose implementing a system for the state government to share information of underperforming contractors with all layers of government, including (on the) Federal (level),” Ng said when presenting the findings of the committee in the assembly session today.

Commenting further, she questioned Menta’s commitment to complete the project within the allotted time, noting conflicting information received during the hearing on the project’s delay earlier this year.

Witnesses comprising Menta’s board of directors had said they were confident the project would be completed by July this year, while the company’s management working on-field gave an August deadline.

However, further information received from state agencies indicated the company sought to extend the tender period until December.

Selangor Special Select Committee on Water Management, Agriculture, Infrastructure, and Mobility (Infragro) chairman cum Subang Jaya state assemblyman Michelle Ng Mei Sze (front row, second from left) speaks during a press conference after the Selangor State Legislative Assembly session in the State Secretariat Building, Shah Alam, on March 7, 2024. — Picture by FIKRI YUSOF/SELANGORKINI

Unsatisfactory Reasons

Ng said the contractors provided several reasons for the delay. Among other things, they claimed the soil information stated in the tender document differed from what was found on-site.

They also claimed the planning approval from the local authorities was given to them late, and there was a lack of cement supply to complete the project.

Later, when speaking to Selangor Journal, she said the committee was not satisfied with these answers, stating that as contractors, they should have been able to adapt to these situations and complete the project within the agreed timeframe.

“This is especially true as the project is of public interest and is critical in nature, involving not only regular people but businesses as well,” Ng said.

On February 26, it was reported that SJAM is expected to be fully operational by August this year after completing most major works.

At the time, state executive councillor for infrastructure Izham Hashim said that three out of the four packages under the project were nearly completed.

However, complications pertaining to works conducted at the Sungai Selangor Phase One, Phase Two, and Phase Three water treatment plants (WTPs) have resulted in a slight delay in the overall completion date from the previous May projection.

“All other work packages, including Package C, which concerns the hybrid off-river system for all three aforementioned WTPs, are nearing completion.

“Packages B and D, involving the pumping stations in Bestari Jaya and Sungai Semenyih, are expected to be operational by the end of March.

“However, Package A, which involves all three Sungai Selangor WTPs, is facing some complications and is expected to be resolved by August,” he said.

State executive councillor for infrastructure Izham Hashim (second from right) and Selangor State Government Deputy Secretary (Development) Datuk Johary Anuar (right) visiting the site of the Sungai Semenyih retention pond (Pond C) project under the Skim Jaminan Air Mentah (SJAM) initiative, at Jenderam Hilir in Dengkil, on February 16, 2023. — Picture by NUR ADIBAH AHMAD IZAM/SELANGORKINI


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