TUARAN: Tourism in Sabah, especially in Kiulu near here, will get a boost once the Telipok-Kiulu-Randagong Highway is opened, says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
He said the project, covering a route of 60km and estimated to cost RM288mil, was expected to be completed on March 31 next year.
It connects Telipok in Kota Kinabalu to Kiulu and Randagong in Ranau.
“Connectivity here will be easier and more convenient. Rural tourism in the area will also be given a boost with the new road,” Najib said after visiting the construction site yesterday.
Present were Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman, Tuaran MP Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau, Kiulu assemblyman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai and state Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Mohd Noor.
Najib said Kiulu recorded 53,000 tourist arrivals annually.
“With the new road, I believe that this number will increase to 100,000 or more.”
Najib is the first sitting Prime Minister to visit Kiulu, a riverine sub-district that sits on the foothills of Gunung Kinabalu, about 60km from Kota Kinabalu.
In his speech, Najib said the Government, under his leadership, was committed to listening to the voice of the people. He added that he was a Prime Minister who gave serious attention to Sabah and Sabahans.
Kiulu is famed for its outdoor activities such as white-water rafting as well as ecotourism.
Najib vowed to return to Kiulu if the constituents delivered victory to all the Barisan Nasional candidates in the Tuaran parliamentary seat and the three state seats within it at the general election.
He offered to go on a raft ride in Sungai Kiulu if Barisan won in Tuaran. He said it was a special offer to the people of Kiulu.
“If I want to return to Kiulu, I wish to take a raft ride in the river. I ask all of you to support Barisan for victory in the parliamentary and state constituencies here,” he said to applause of thousands of people at the event.
Tangau is Tuaran MP. Former journalist Datuk Joniston Bangkuai of Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) is Kiulu assemblyman while Hajiji is Sulaman assemblyman.
Datuk Jahid Jahim from PBS lost the Tamparuli state seat to Parti Cinta Sabah president Datuk Seri Wilfred Bumburing in the 2013 general election.
Musa hinted that Jahid might be fielded as a Barisan candidate for Tamparuli.
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