KUALA LUMPUR: The Education Ministry does not owe any contractor any debt with regard to school construction projects, says Deputy Minister P. Kamalanathan.
He said the ministry was obliged under the Treasury Instruction (AP) 103 and financial regulations to settle any claim for payment from contractors, within 14 days upon receiving the relevant documents.
“It must be understood that claims for payment from contractors for conventional projects are made through the consultants.
“The consultants are responsible for assessing the projects, and signing and forwarding the payment claim documents,” he said at the Dewan Negara here today.
He was responding to a question from Senator Datuk Hamzah Mohd Kassim on claims that had yet to be paid to contractors who had completed school construction projects.
He stressed that the ministry would not unnecessarily hold back any payment from the contractors regardless of whether they are bumiputera or of other races.
“We will get a summary of the completed projects from the consultants; if the contractor concerned had failed to follow the scope of the job, then the report would not be favourable.
“The assessments are normally not done by us but by the consultants; if the completed scope differed from the original scope, our consultants would not forward the payment claim to us,” he said.
Nevertheless, Kamalanathan said contractors could always approach and seek the ministry’s advice.
“We are always willing to provide guidance and advice to the contractors on avoiding the hitches.
“We do not wish to be accountable if the contractor fails to complete the project or has done a ‘low standard’ job because we are talking about the school here, the building where our children study,” he added.