Sarawak govt borrows RM13bil to fund infrastructure projects

KUCHING: The Sarawak government is borrowing some RM13bil from Development Bank of Sarawak (Debos) to fund the Sarawak Coastal Road and other major infrastructure projects.

With repayment of about RM3bil a year, the loan could be settled over four years, according to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

Performing the ground-breaking ceremony for the RM98.5mil Rambungan bridge project in the Lundu district, he said getting loans from state-owned Debos was the alternative financing model that the state government has tapped into to fund the strategic infrastructure development projects.

Debos commenced business operations in January 2018 with a paid-up capital of RM500mil. Its source of funding include state government grants and capital injection from its holding company.

Debos takes deposits from the government and government-linked companies (GLCs) and places funds with financial institutions. The Sarawak government is reported to have a state reserve of over RM30bil.

On products and services, Debos provides term loans, revolving credit, project financing, bridging loans, syndication and bank guarantees.

The Rambungan project is one of the nine bridge projects across major rivers that would provide the missing links of the existing Sarawak Coastal Road network, which spans 896km from the south to the northern region.

Motorists currently rely on ferry services to cross these rivers. The ferry at Rambungan currently serves an average of 2,800 vehicles a day.

The Rambungan bridge, which had been approved by the previous Barisan Nasional government, was among the bridge projects scrapped by the new federal government.

According to Johari, the design of the 560m long Rambungan bridge is modelled after the San Francisco bridge (the Golden Gate Bridge) with its steel suspension cables.

The Rambungan bridge is a two-lane single carriageway cable-stayed bridge, comprising 320m of cable-stayed span, 80m of approach span on the Kuching side and 160m of approach span on the Lundu side.

The project also involves the construction of two-lane single carriageway approach roads on the Kuching side (255m) and Lundu side (560m).

The Rambungan bridge project is expected to take 36 months to build. Upon completion, it would enable motorists to travel uninterruptedly between Lundu town and Kuching via the existing Lundu-Sampadi Road.

The project was awarded to Precious Credence JV Ghezhouba Sdn Bhd, with Opus Consultant (M) Sdn Bhd as the project management consultant and Jurutera Minsar Consult Sdn Bhd as the project consultant.

Besides the Rambungan bridge, the other bridge projects for the Sarawak coastal road which have been awarded include the Batang Paloh bridge (RM298.98mil), the Bintulu-Jepak bridge (RM466.7mil), Muara Lassa bridge (RM598mil), Sungai Krian (RM75mil) and Jalan Pasi to Jalan Sarikei/Tanjung Manis (including Batang Rejang bridge) (RM321mil).

The other bridges to be built include those across Batang Saribas, Batang Lupar and Batang Igan.

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