Tiong: Remove danger stretches


Safety first: Upgrading of the Pan Borneo Highway has began but care has to be taken to remove the accident-prone corners.

MIRI: The plan by the Federal Government to upgrade the 1,000km long Pan Borneo highway in Sarawak must include design changes to the present alignment of the highway. This will remove all the danger stretches that are causing serious and fatal accidents.

Bintulu MP Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing said it was not enough for the highway to be just widened into four lanes without the current routes being realigned.

Tiong, who is also president of Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party, raised the issue during the Dewan Rakyat sitting on Wednesday.

Deputy Works Minister Datuk Rosmah Abdul Rashid acknowledged the concern raised by Tiong, who is also the Prime Minister’s special envoy to Taiwan, South Korea and Japan.

Tiong told Sarawak Metro yesterday in an email that removing the danger stretches along the highway must be top priority as the number of accidents had been surging every year.

“The present route of the Pan Bormeo Highway from Kuching to Miri has many stretches of sharp bends and blind spots. The ministry must make sure these danger areas are removed,” he said.

“The upgrading cannot just focus on widening these existing routes into four lanes.”Tiong stressed that a superhighway must be wide and straight, not “zig-zagging here and there”.

From the information received, Tiong said the present upgrading plan for the highway showed that most of the present alignment would be maintained by the Public Works Department that is overseeing the project.

He said this was not good enough and he wanted the present alignment to be corrected.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak kicked off the upgrading works along the Bintulu to Bakun stretch in March this year.

The highway stretches from Kuching to Miri and then pass through Brunei before entering Limbang and Lawas in northernmost Sarawak.

From Lawas it crosses into Sabah where another 700km stretch connects Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan.

The entire upgrading of the highway in Sarawak and Sabah, costing RM25bil, will take at least another decade to complete.

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