Chong says his query on grass-cutting led to discovery of monopoly business

Chong Chieng Jen

KUCHING: Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen claimed that he has contributed to the discovery of a monopoly business when he queried about the stoppage of grass cutting at some federal roads here.

Under the previous administration of the Barisan Nasional (BN), jobs were awarded to one or two companies under huge government concession agreements, said Chong, who is Stampin MP and Kota Sentosa assemblyman.

“This is the monopoly policy of the past and under the new Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, we should put a stop to such policy,” he stressed.

“The cat is now out of the bag. Ten years of grass-cutting job for 700km of federal roads awarded to one company. This is in reference to the recent press statement of DAL HCM Sdn Bhd claiming that DAL HCM Sdn Bhd has on Feb 14, 2018 signed a 10-year grass-cutting contract for all federal roads in Sarawak to commence on Sept 1, 2018 till Aug 31, 2028,” he said.

Such announcement by DAL HCM raised even more concerns and suspicions, he said, referring to a news report on Saturday quoting statements of DAL HCM CEO Dzulkarnean Ahmad.

The grass-cutting agreement was signed by the BN government before GE14 when there were still six months left before the previous contract expired, Chong pointed out.

“Why was the contract entered so early and so near to the general election?” Chong asked.

“Grass-cutting work is not some specialised job and does not require huge capital investment. Many smaller and common local contractors can also do the job of grass-cutting. The concession agreement awarded to DAL HCM Sdn Bhd covers more than 700km of federal roads in Sarawak, located in all the major cities or towns like Kuching, Sibu, Mukah, Bintulu and Miri.

“Why is one company getting all the grass-cutting job covering such large area while locals were not given a chance to get the jobs directly from the government?” Chong asked again.

DAL HCM is the concessionaire for maintenance works on federal roads across Sarawak. According to DAL HCM, the scope of works besides grass-cutting includes routine and periodic works such as drain cleaning, maintaining the bridges and (mending) potholes.

It was claimed grass-cutting at federal roads in the city in particular has stopped since November this year due to the exhaustion of federal funding.