Friday, 17 February 2012

Projects done by military cheaper — Zahid

by Johnson K Saai, Posted on February 17, 2012, Friday

WORKING VISIT:  Ahmad Zahid (right) engages in a friendly chat with senior army officers on his arrival at the camp. — Photo by Jeffery Mostapa

 WORKING VISIT: Ahmad Zahid (right) engages in a friendly chat with senior army
officers on his arrival at the camp. — Photo by Jeffery Mostapa

KUCHING: Projects carried out by the military under its ‘Jiwa Murni’ programme have proven to be many times cheaper than if they were to be done by civilian contractors.
This fact was proven when the army managed to complete 10 projects in Sarawak by spending only RM200 million out of the RM700 million budgeted for them.
In highlighting this, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the army did not only manage to cut the cost by RM500 million but was also able to complete the projects within two years although the actual period for completion was five years.
Speaking to the media at a news conference during his working visit to the 71 Royal Ordinance Battalion at Pending Camp here, Zahid said among the community projects undertaken by the army in Sarawak were the construction of seven rural roads, two modular bridges and a longhouse.
Most of the projects, he disclosed, were completed before end of last year and had benefited many people, particularly those living in the interior parts of the state.
He added that the ability to complete the projects in a shorter period and with lesser allocations had shown that the Malaysian Armed Forces, especially the army, was committed to helping the people, especially those from the interior.
He however dismissed the notion that the army was trying to meddle in the business world, explaining that their aim was to assist the public in any possible way during peace.
“We are not here to compete with the local contractors. In fact the building materials for our projects were all supplied by local contractors and similarly our sub-contractors are all locals,” he stressed.
Earlier, he disclosed that the army would implement three more community based infrastructure development projects in the state this year, namely the construction of roads in Belaga and Marudi while the third one would be the building of a longhouse in Tatau.
Zahid also said that the ministry was relieved that it had successfully commissioned the rural water supply system in Serian, benefiting around 10,000 people in the district, through its community service.
“For the whole of last year, together with the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development Management, we completed 400 houses throughout the state,” he said.
Among those accompanying the minister during the visit were Malaysian Army chief General Datuk Zulkifli Zainal Abidin and First Division Infantry commander Major General Datuk Mohd Zaki Mokhtar.

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