LAWAS, May 29 — The Sarawak government has begun the land acquisition exercise for the construction of a new Lawas airport, and compensation for land affected is expected to be handed out soon, said Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Tengah Ali Hasan.

Awang Tengah, who is also the Second Minister for Natural Resources and Urban Development, thanked the Ministry of Transport (MoT) for endorsing the site for the new airport.

“This is very important because our current airstrip can no longer meet the demand. In fact, it is flood prone, last year alone the airstrip was flooded three times.

“And we cannot do anything (about the flood). We had to go to KK (Kota Kinabalu) and because of the pandemic, the ticket prices were expensive,” he said.

Not only the tickets were expensive, the people were forced to fork out money to stay at hotels in KK before continuing their flight, he said when officiating at Meet the Client’s Day and closing ceremony for Keluarga Malaysia License Assistance organised by the Ministry of Transport (MoT) here yesterday.

Touching on the road connectivity, Awang Tengah, who is also Second Minister for Natural Resources and Urban Development said the state government remains committed to building a road connecting Lawas, Limbang to Miri and beyond bypassing Brunei.

He added that the first package of Sarawak Link Road (SLR)is underway from Gelugus to Long Luping.

“The state government is committed to continuing the SLR project. For that, myself together with deputy minister of MoT Datuk Henry Sum Agong, deputy Minister of Rural Development Datuk Hasbi Habibollah, Sarawak deputy Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture and Regional Development Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Ismail and Batu Danau assemblyman Paulus Palu Gumbang had met with the minister so that the project can be speed up,” he said.

He added that they also called on the federal government to look into the need to build a road Long Luping to the Indonesian border.

“And Alhamdulillah (Praise be to God, this has been given the attention by the federal government under the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri.” On the Keluarga Malaysia License Assistance, Awang Tengah pointed out that it was an initiative by the federal government through the MOT to help the B40 in getting a license.

He added that the “Meet with Client’s Day” also gave opportunity for the people to meet and ask questions directly to the various agencies such as the Road Transport Department (JPJ), Maswings and the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIRO) who are taking part in the programme.

Meanwhile, deputy minister of Transport Datuk Henry Sum Agong in his welcoming speech said the initiative was meant to alleviate the burden of the people from the B40 group.

A total of 1,000 people in Lawas are getting their license under the programme.

“With this license (B2 license), they can increase their employment opportunities and further contribute to economic growth as well as strengthening the country’s labour market.

Among those present at the function were Secretary General for MoT Datuk Isham Ishak, Federal Secretary of Sarawak Datuk Amir Omar and JPJ director-general Datuk Zailani Hashim. — Borneo Post