KOTA KINABALU: The Federal Government is committed to completing the Pan Borneo Highway project in Sabah, and will collaborate with the State Government to resolve issues plaguing its construction, including land acquisition.
Works Minister Baru Bian gave his assurance that the project will be implemented and that workers, as well as companies involved in the construction of the highway, have nothing to worry about.
"I understand that they are very jittery about the whole thing, including the Government's direction regarding the Pan Borneo Highway in Sabah.
"But I want to give assurance that the Federal Government will carry out the project. It is our project and we want to see it completed well so that everyone would be happy.
"This is the biggest project for Sabah and Sarawak. We don't have many highways there. Because of that, we want to ensure that this project will be implemented and finished," he said in a press conference at a hotel here on Sunday (Oct 14).
The Selangau MP said the acquisition of land for the project was a big problem in Sabah, and that his Ministry needed to work with the State Government to navigate this issue.
"The land acquisition process includes evicting land dwellers, who could be staying there either legally or illegally.
"Eviction and land valuation are under the State Government's jurisdiction. We need cooperation from the Attorney General's Chambers and the Land and Survey Department on this.
"I understand that the Land and Survey Department has an enforcement team working on eviction," he explained.
In Sabah, the project is broken into 35 work packages worth RM12.8bil with seven packages implemented between April 2016 and December 2017.
Baru said the Government will discuss with the Finance Ministry on how best to implement the remaining packages despite the budget constraints, to prevent delayed payments and ensure that all stakeholders are happy.
He added that an independent consultant will be appointed to review the cost of the project and find out whether there is room for discussions with the project delivery partner to reduce the price.