KUCHING: The Ministry of Public Health, Housing and Local Government has assured that the Sarawak government is committed to solving the troubled Borneo Samariang Resort City (BSRC) project.
Deputy Minister Michael Tiang said the government was diligently engaging with the affected house buyers and working with the relevant parties on how best to solve the issue.
“The ministry has been conducting a series of engagements with Sentoria Borneo Land Sdn Bhd, the project developer.
“The engagements also include several meetings with the representatives of the affected house buyers, agencies and deputy ministers.
“A meeting was held on June 14 and had highlighted the issue on financial assistance provided to the affected house buyers involving public servants, to the State Financial Secretary’s Office (SFS), Borneo Housing Mortgage Finance Berhad (BHMFB) and Public Sector Home Financing Board (LPPSA).
“Up until now, LPPSA and BHMFB have given a certain relaxation to the loan repayments,” Tiang said on Friday (Aug 19).
He said that the ministry had been informed by SFS that they were still considering certain measures to address the matter regarding the loans.
Among the assistance provided by the agencies, he said the affected house purchasers were given two moratoriums of six months each in 2020 and 2021, while LPPSA was offering three types of financial assistance.
“This includes rescheduling of the monthly instalment for problematic or sick projects (for current project progress which is less than 80 per cent completion); loan cancellation for abandoned, problematic and sick projects; and moratorium for current project progress less than 80 per cent completion.”
Following the ministry’s concerted efforts to intervene regarding the temporary freeze of Sentoria Borneo Land’s Housing Development Account (HDA), he said that the temporary freeze had been lifted by the bank.
“However, the bank insists on having the claims submitted by Sentoria Borneo Land to be meticulously reviewed by their appointed monitoring accountant. The release of the funds shall also be subject to certain conditions for the pre-release and the post-release of the HDA funds being compiled by the developer.”
Having been required to comply with the intricate processes, he added that it was time consuming and had led to the delay in payment released by the bank to the sub-contractors.
“If the first batch of claims already took five months to be released by the bank, at this current rate, Sentoria Borneo Land would have to bear the high cost of operations incurred while having limited financial resources.
“As a result of the delay in payment, the subcontractors have ceased work on-site making the progress to be very unproductive. Some had also vacated the site due to non-payment. The contractors and suppliers are also requesting higher rates for any construction works to be done or materials to be supplied with very stringent payment terms,” Tiang said.
He also said to address the issue of project delay, it was fair to say that most developers were experiencing the same impacts since the outbreak of Covid-19.
“Many are having difficulties with outsourcing manpower due to the limited supply and yet high demand in the construction industry.
“Not only that, Sentoria Borneo Land is also facing problems with certain end-financiers who request for house purchasers’ consent before releasing the sum of progress billings generated for the work done thus far. Having said all of the above, the developer has expressed its commitment to continuing the BSRC project until its completion,” added Tiang.