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KUCHING, March 6 — The Sarawak government’s main focus is to build roads connecting urban and rural areas in order to boost economic development in the state, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg said tonight.
“If we have good roads and other amenities, the economy will be stimulated,” he said during the 138th anniversary dinner of the state Public Works Department (PWD).
“And of course, the private sector will come in and that will definitely enhance our economic development,” he said.
The chief minister said bringing infrastructure to rural areas is crucial not only for spurring economic development, but also, most importantly, to improve connectivity for rural communities.
“Although Sarawak is still sparsely populated, our people must be given good roads. We will use our own state funds to build the roads, particularly coastal ones as well as bridges,” he added.
Earlier in his speech, state PWD director Datuk Zuraimi Sabki said among the most notable projects under the department’s purview are the on-going coastal road and second trunk road projects, with a combined estimated cost of RM11 billion.
He added the projects commenced last year, including the construction of six major bridges with an overall contract sum of RM2.14 billion, and are expected to be completed by the end of 2023.
He said under the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP), the state PWD has a total number of 642 projects worth more than RM16.6 billion.
“Out of which, the department has completed 251 major projects worth RM4.3 billion, 158 others are currently under construction, while 233 are still at various stages of planning, design and the tender process,” Zuraimi said.
He said the state PWD is managing 148 people-centric projects with a total approved value of RM6.5 billion.
On the RM16 billion Pan Borneo Highway, he said the project is now directly under the state PWD’s supervision.