By John Isaac
AN Assemblywoman has called on the Sarawak Works Department to take immediate action to resolve the poor condition of Jalan Setia Raja, Kuching involving the sections between the Lodge School Roundabout and Jalan Permata.
Pending assemblywoman, Violet Yong said there was a severe rutting problem along Jalan Setia Raja, with potholes everywhere.
The road is also sunken and there are damaged surface areas in front of Kuching Plywood resulting in serious ponding issue.
“These problems pose a great danger to road users particularly the motorcyclists.
“I was made to understand that the government carried out road rehabilitation works in mid-2015 and handed over responsibility to JKR Sarawak after the Defect Liability Period (DLP) ended in early January 2018,” she said.
The Road Maintenance Contract was subsequently given to CMS Roads Sdn Bhd between 2018 and end 2019, and later awarded to PPES Works Sdn Bhd in January 2020.
“Based on the chronological order of events, Jalan Setia Raja Road should be in good condition since it was already rehabilitated and accepted by JKR Sarawak,” she said.
If JKR Sarawak accepted it, then it must have been in good condition and later maintained by professional road contractors in accordance with standard road maintenance specified by our government.
“However, instead of a good road, it is now in terrible condition and in urgent need of rehabilitation again within a period of less than 10 years,” said Violet.
She said JKR Sarawak should look into this issue seriously because it is clear that somehow, something, somewhere must have gone so wrong.
“Was it error of design? If it is so, then the consultant should be made liable. Or was it caused by use of construction material of inferior quality? If it is, then again, the consultant should be blacklisted for having failed to check the suitability and quality of the materials prescribed,”.
If the condition of the road is due to shoddy work, then not only should the contractor be barred from being awarded any more jobs but JKR Sarawak’s superintendent officer should also be made answerable for having failed to carry out the necessary quality control and construction supervision.
The state government can claim that the condition of Jalan Setia Road is the result of years being ploughed by overladen trucks.
“If the government knows the road is facing problems of overladen trucks, why did the government not build roads with higher specs that can withstand more weight, knowing that overladen trucks have always been a major problem here?,” she asked.
If the management of Jalan Setia Raja is any indication of standard used by our state government in managing our roads, then it really worries us all.
With more roads to be built across Sarawak of which 60 per cent is peat soil, what will become of these roads in the near future? We might have the budget to build the roads today, but can we afford to keep maintaining and rehabilitating one stretch of road after another, year after year?
“Jalan Setia Raja is definitely not a road where the maintenance company can get workmen to simply patch up potholes here and there and consider the job done,” she added.