KUALA LUMPUR, April 29 — Putrajaya has approved RM5.5 billion for the construction of a 415km-long road from Sarawak all the way to the northern tip of Borneo in Sabah, Works Minister Baru Bian disclosed ahead of the Pakatan Harapan federal government’s first anniversary.
In an interview with several Borneo-based media, Baru said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had given the green light for the project connecting Long Lama to Lawas, and said it would benefit about one million people in the northern region of Sarawak.
“The first package of the project, from Lawas to Long Sukang (and) to Long Lopeng and to Kampung Pa’ Berunut — at an estimated cost of RM1.18 billion — would probably be completed in three years.
“If we have the means, we can do it (in) one go. But for now, we are constrained by finance, so we will do it in packages. I want to ensure that it (Sarawak-Sabah link road) will be constructed.
“In fact, that is one of the things that I hope to see because it would really benefit our people,” he was quoted saying by The Borneo Post in the joint interview with Utusan Borneo and See Hua Daily News.
The Selangau MP said the road once built would not only save domestic travellers time but also the hassle of carrying their passports. According to The Borneo Post, locals travelling from Lawas to Miri in Sarawak have to pass through Brunei.
“The prime minister was happy when I suggested (the construction of the Sarawak-Sabah link road) earlier. He said ‘go ahead’,” Baru told the Bornean media.
The Sarawak PKR chairman said the new connectivity would boost development to both Sarawak and Sabah as telecommunication services will be enhanced once the road connectivity is completed.
“Once you have these two connectivity (roads and telecommunication services), I believe our people don’t need to travel down to Marudi, Miri and other towns to sell their goods,” Baru was quoted saying.
He cited farmers in China selling fruits and crops through their mobile devices and the internet as an example.