KUCHING, June 11 ― Former works minister Baru Bian today urged the Perikatan Nasional (PN) federal government to continue with the construction of the 425km long Sarawak-Sabah Link Road (SSLR) which he launched in November last year.
He said the 2020 federal budget had included funding of RM600 million for the first part of the project.
“I hope the present Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof will prioritise the interests of the Sarawakians and ensure that the SSLR, Pan Borneo Highway and other road projects, especially in rural areas, will continue without any hitches,” Baru, who is also the Selangau member of parliament and Ba’Kelalan assemblyman, said.
He was responding to a call by Assistant Minister of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Ismail for the PN federal government to consider constructing an alternative road to Limbang and Lawas from Miri that would not pass through Brunei.
Dr Abdul Rahman, who is also Bukit Kota assemblyman, had stressed on the importance of constructing an alternative road for transporting of food items from Miri to Limbang and Lawas, without having to go through another country.
Baru said former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had approved the construction of SSLR in 2018, adding that once SSLR was completed, there would be no need for Sarawakians to have a passport when travelling from one end to another end of the state.
The SSLR, targeted to be completed by 2030, will connect Sarawak and Sabah in two stages: from Lawas to Long Sukang, Long Luping and Pa’ Brunut, and from Pa’ Brunut to Long Lama.
Baru said infrastructure development is one of the basic functions of the government and a vital catalyst for economic and social development.
“The people have waited for a very long time for a proper road connection from north to south of Sarawak,” he added.
Baru said he also initiated the Trans-Borneo Highway to link the interiors of Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei and Kalimantan in Indonesia, which was expected to be completed in 10 years.