KUALA LUMPUR: The Government has yet to make a decision on whether to review the Pan Borneo Highway, says newly-minted Works Minister Baru Bian.
“We have to look at the situation first whether there is a need to review. We will look into it later. We have not made any decision yet.
“We will look at how best it can be implemented and completed, on the cost, feasibility and the implementation,” he said at his first press conference as minister.
Also present was Deputy Works Minister Anuar Tahir. Baru and Anuar were briefed by officials at the Works Ministry. Former Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof also attended the official handover ceremony here.
“Pan Borneo is the very first highway in East Malaysia and we are happy to have highways in Sabah and Sarawak,” added Baru.
Asked about the progress of the construction of Pan Borneo Highway, Works Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Zohari Akob said 36% of Phase 1 of the project had been completed.
“For Phase 1, 11 packages have been awarded. At the moment, most of the construction is ongoing,” he said.
Phase 1 of the highway links Telok Melano in southern Sarawak to Miri in the north, and is slated for completion in 2021.
Phase 2, which covers 77km to link Sabah, is at the planning stage.
It was reported that the RM29bil mega project will continue despite the change in Federal Government, but an audit will be carried out on the contractors.
Meanwhile, Baru said the ministry would give special focus to five states – Sabah, Sarawak, Perlis, Kelantan and Terengganu – that were in serious need of better public infrastructure.
“We will look at all states, all areas but we will give more focus on these five states, mainly on infrastructure like federal roads, highways and airports,” he said.
The Works Minister said RM2bil was needed annually for the maintenance of federal roads nationwide.
But he said the ministry had been receiving insufficient amount of RM600mil to RM800mil for the past three years.
He said 30% of federal roads were in poor condition.
“I was told roads need to be resurfaced every seven years,” he said, adding he would raise the matter of more allocations in the Cabinet.
Baru also said the ministry was committed to restoring 394 rundown schools nationwide, including 245 schools under the jurisdiction of the Works Ministry.