KUCHING:  The implementation of federal development projects using the industrialised building system or IBS needs careful consideration.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said factors such as site suitability, locality, topography, access road accessibility and transportation must be taken into account.

He said this when raising up four issues in his opening address at the second meeting of the state/ federal joint action committee here yesterday. Works Minister Baru Bian jointly chaired the meeting.

Uggah said this in response to an instruction from the Finance Ministry which mandated the usage of IBS in development projects.

“Sarawak has no objection to using the IBS. But we hope all these factors must be considered carefully to avoid price escalation,”

On the cancellation of any project in the state due to unsuitable site and its fund taken away to other states, Uggah suggested that solution should be worked out for alternative site to be considered.

“We hope such matter can be co-ordinated.

“There is no need for the project to be cancelled and for its fund to be diverted elsewhere,” he said.

He said the cancellation of the Rukun Tetangga Centre in Kampung Iboi in Samarahan by the National Unity and Integration Department was an example.

On the third issue, Uggah suggested that land acquired by any federal department and agencies not used be given to other federal departments and agencies or be returned to the state.

“These are the lands categorised under Non-Performing Assets. They are not used or developed and are still empty and neglected.

“In the absence of such utilisation or development, the federal land commission should be consulted whether to give them to other federal departments and agencies or return them to the state,” he said.

Uggah also touched on the importance of planning and co-ordination between the two governments in order to avoid project duplication.

He said the co-ordination should be done at the planning stage.

“This year Sarawak is spending almost RM2 billion on power and water supply projects.

“For agricultural projects on untitled land, the land status must be verified before any development.

“We had cases in the past where the Malaysian Palm Oil Board approved subsidy for oil palm on land with  doubtful status.  I hope the federal government will consult us to verify.  The verification can be done through the state’s one-stop committee in the Agriculture Modernisation, Native Land and Regional Development Ministry,” he said.

On another issue Uggah said the joint committee had accepted  a proposal from the Land and Survey Department to use the fund of RM10.9 million to continue with perimeter survey and survey under Section 18.