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KL river project extended

Federal Territories Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa visiting a River of Life project site in Jalan Bunus, Kuala Lumpur, yesterday. PIC BY SAIFULLIZAN TAMADI

KUALA LUMPUR: The River of Life (RoL) project deadline has been pushed to 2024 to allow the completion of some work packages.

Following a site check here yesterday, Federal Territories Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa said all work packages were meant to be completed by next year. However there were still things that needed to be done.

"Almost all major work is 80 to 90 per cent done. These are just the finer points," said Annuar, who agreed that all work under the project, costing taxpayers RM4.4 billion, was supposed to be completed by next year.

He said among the finer points that needed work were the water quality and river clean-up works.

A ministry officer had also confirmed that all RoL works under the Federal Territories Ministry and Kuala Lumpur City Hall were around 99 per cent complete.

On whether he would allow for the ministry and City Hall's audit reports relating to this project to be declassified, he said the "government could consider", but it was bound to procedures.

He also said audits were conducted all the time.

"Of course we implement criteria for projects, but you cannot expect a perfect situation.

"Sometimes, there are irresponsible contractors and things are designed wrongly, so much so they result in technical problems that need to be fixed and cause the cost to overrun."

Annuar said he was ready to take questions in Parliament.

The project, which kicked off in July 2011, first came under the spotlight in the 2015 Auditor General's Report for issues relating to sewerage projects.

The report criticised the Energy, Green Technology and Water, and Federal Territories Ministries for multiple weaknesses in handling the sewerage projects.

The report highlighted delays and contractual oversights in the project, including non-compliance of effluent quality standards when the sewerage treatment plants were up and running.

Two years later, the auditor general again zeroed in on the project. It said 13 extensions of between 45 and 365 days had been granted for the project.

Last year, the NST ran a series of articles on the project which had fallen short of its objectives.

It was criticised for its late delivery, poor construction, designs and workmanship.

Annuar also announced that 1,112 trading spaces would be made available for youths in Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya from now until 2023, which could be rented from as low as RM20 up to RM1,000.

The temporary spaces would be allocated for kioks, foodtrucks as well as those selling art and craft.

Annuar said priority would be given to those aged 35 and below, those who had lost their jobs and wanted to set up business, and also to the homeless who wished to turn their life around.

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