Uncertainty over projects a worry for Sarawakians

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  • Thursday, 24 May 2018

A rural road in Bakelalan, located in the mountainous region of northern Sarawak. — Filepic

THE proposed RM30mil Miri Polyclinic and RM50mil Bekenu Hospital projects must proceed.

Tens of thousands of people need these health facilities.

The construction of rural roads under the Defence Ministry Jiwa Murni programme should also proceed.

All these are vital projects that have yet to be carried out.

The fall of Barisan Nasional federal government in the 14th general election on May 9 has put these projects on uncertain footing.

So far there are no indications as to whether the new Pakatan Federal administration under Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in Putrajaya will continue financing these projects in Sarawak that were promised by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The Barisan-led Sarawak government had taken over a few ongoing federal projects that were half-completed, such as the Long Lama bridge project and tar-sealing of several timber roads in Baram.

The question now is, what will happen to the other projects that have yet to start.

The Miri Polyclinic and Bekenu Hospital have not started construction. Only the ground-breaking ceremonies have been carried out.

In the rural regions there are numerous projects under the Jiwa Murni programme announced by former defence minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.

One of them is the proposed Bakelalan to Bario road project in the highlands of the Sarawak-Kalimantan border.

Hishammuddin had attended the groundbreaking ceremony at the site to mark the start of construction on April 9, 2016.

Rural folk living there want a timeframe for the project’s completion.

Tens of thousands of people will benefit from this vital connection to link Bakelalan with Bario.

It will connect many villages along the route and transform the area’s social and economic landscape.

There had been cases in the past where rural road projects in Sarawak were subject to lengthy delays.

Among the reasons given were bad weather and rising cost of construction.

It is important that vital public infrastructure projects be monitored strictly to avoid delays.

The Bakelalan to Bario road project is one of the six major Jiwa Murni projects undertaken in Sarawak by the Armed Forces

The total cost of the projects was estimaed at RM252mil.

If built using the normal construction process under other government agencies like the Public Works Department, the cost could exceed RM800mil.

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