BETONG, April 20 — The state government will proceed with implementing projects in Sarawak that have been suspended by the federal government, since they will greatly benefit the public, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg said today.
He said the projects included a 5.7-km long Lupar River bridge, a 3-km long Lassa River bridge, and a RM30 million secondary school in Meludam.
“Although these projects have been suspended, we in the state government will proceed with their implementation as they are for the benefit of the people, especially those in the rural areas,” he said at the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of Kampung Meludam extension scheme phase one and the village’s mosque.
“What we have pledged in the last general election, we will fulfill,” he said. “It is not because we want to be boastful, but because we care for the people’s well-being.”
The construction of Lupar River and Lassa River bridges was promised by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, but their implementation were deferred by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration when it took over.
The state and federal governments were supposed to share the cost of constructing the RM1.2 billion Lupar Bridge equally as agreed to between Najib and former chief minister Pehin Sri Adenan Satem in 2015.
Abang Johari said the Lupar River and Lassa River bridges, upon completion, would shorten the travelling journey from Kuching to Sibu by two hours and 30 minutes, from the present seven or eight hours.
The chief minister also hit out at the PH federal government for rejecting a loan offer of RM1 billion to fix dilapidated schools and build new ones in Sarawak.
He said Sarawak may be a state, but it has the fund to provide loan to the federal government.
Abang Johari urged the federal government to put aside its ego and accept the offer from the state government.
“We are sincere in our offer because we want our children to acquire knowledge and education,” he said, adding that although education is under the jurisdiction of the federal government, the state government is willing to help.
He said it is not just the dilapidated rural schools which require to be fixed, but also the poor conditions of the teachers’ quarters.
He said many female teachers would rather stay elsewhere because these quarters do not provide privacy to them due to cracks on the walls.
The chief minister said the state government will use its own fund to build SMK Meludam whose construction was suspended by the federal government.
He said he has already directed state Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Datuk Seri Michael Manyin to proceed with the construction of SMK Meludam.