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Dr Annuar Refutes Accusations Over Mosque Restoration Project

SIBU: Assistant Minister of Housing and Public Health Dr Annuar Rapaee has blasted certain quarters for making wild accusations regarding the award of tender for Masjid Al Qadim restoration project.

He views the claim, posted on the Facebook page of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Nangka sub-branch, as one ‘intended to sow the seeds of hatred and doubts among Sibu people’.

According to Dr Annuar, who is Nangka assemblyman, the group claims that the project tender was not properly awarded, there were changes in costs, as well as elements of cronyism, ‘under-the-table’ arrangement, direct negotiations, and also unclear specifications and scope of works.

As a follow-up, he invited this group to the Muslim Welfare Trust Board (Lakis) Sibu office yesterday for him to provide them with details of the project.

These are very bad accusations on their part � we wish to provide them with the necessary clarifications to clear the air. But unfortunately, they said they could not come today (yesterday) � and I don’t know the reason.

Nevertheless, they can come any time, at their convenience, to seek clarifications regarding the mosque project, he told reporters here.

On the mosque upgrading project, Dr Annuar said the earlier Phase 1 and Phase 2A had reached completion.

It is learnt that works now enter Phase 2B � the final stage of the project � which costs around RM1.5 million. It is the tender award for this phase that is being referred to in the claim posted on Facebook.

The tender for the final stage of the project was advertised in The Borneo Post on March 26 (this year), while the tender document was sold on April 9. The tender closed on April 30 and the evaluation was done together by the consultant UCTS (University College of Technology Sarawak) and Lakis on May 7, said Dr Annuar.

He added that four companies bid for the project � two were ineligible as one did not attend the site meeting, while the other had the licence that was below the capability of RM1.5-million restoration project.

The remaining two companies were then considered, but Lakis decided to go for the one with the lowest price. The contract tender was awarded on May 31, while the kick-off meeting was held on June 5. Works were set to commence two weeks upon receipt of the letter of offer. All the processes had been done transparently and in an orderly manner.

There’s no ‘direct negotiation’, ‘under-the-table’ arrangements or cronyism as alleged by the group, stressed Dr Annuar.

In this respect, he called upon this group to ‘not indulge in politics of perception’, aimed at stirring up doubts and hatred among the local folk.

He said they should not have resorted to such tactics just to fish for votes in the next election.

Rather than creating doubts, they should help Lakis look for more funds to cover the costs of restoring this historical mosque, said Dr Annuar, who is also Lakis Sibu chairman.

Meanwhile, UCTS architect Muhammad Oliver Eusor said they carried out the analysis on both phases of the project based on the requirements, adding that the final decision rested upon Lakis.

They (Lakis) decided to go for the contractor with the lowest price. Our part is to act as project advisor, helping Lakis to manage the proper procedures for restoration job, he said.

Adding on to Muhammad Oliver’s statement, Dr Annuar said they decided to engage UCTS as the consultant since it has the necessary expertise and specialty in restoration projects.

According to him, UCTS provides the consultancy ‘free of charge’, of which the consultancy fee would, otherwise, incur 10 per cent of total project cost.

Dr Annuar also said the contractor who won the project award, would need to attend a special course in Shah Alam before embarking on the project.

For the record, the 180-year-old Masjid Al Qadim is gazetted as a historical building under Sarawak Museum Department.

The meeting yesterday was also attended by Lakis secretary Jamil Julaihi and another UCTS architect Rahmat Moriat

Source: SARAWAK GOVERNMENT

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