KUCHING: The state government has approved an immediate RM50mil for the first phase upgrading of the Belaga-Menjawah road in Belaga district.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg announced the approval in a Christmas gathering in Belaga.
The total cost for upgrading the 38km road, which was constructed by the army under its Jiwa Murni programme, was estimated by the Public Works Department to be RM86mil.
Abang Johari said the remaining RM36mil for the road will be made available later in a long-term and systematic bid to improve road connectivity in the district.
He added that as a matter of policy, all future Jiwa Murni roads must be converted to PWD R1 standard roads a year after completion and that the state government must be consulted in such future road projects.
He told the people that he was visiting Belaga to view first-hand the problem of connectivity in the district and how it could be solved.
“I am very much aware of the communication problem here,” he said, adding that Belaga district needed a systematic development plan to overcome these issues.
Abang Johari also said a Bill would be tabled in the State Legislative Assembly next year to pave the way for the development and management of hydro lakes in the area, primarily as tourism assets.
“Now that Sarawak has full control of hydro dams, including Bakun which was acquired from the Federal Government earlier this year, we will be able to manage the lakes and islands in them which have good potential as tourist attractions,” he said.
Abang Johari was earlier briefed on the current condition of the Belaga-Menjawah road by PWD officers and the state of repairs at various sections of the road which were recently damaged by floods and landslides.
Also present were acting state secretary Datuk Jaul Samion, Infrastructure Ministry permanent secretary Datuk Safri Zainuddin and State Planning Unit director Datuk Abu Bakar Marzuki.