KOTA KINABALU: Work to construct or upgrade 1,190km of roads in Sabah will be carried out during the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP), says Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin.
He said for this year, preliminary work will include designing, land measurement and investigation as well as acquisition for these road projects.
“The state government will strengthen the Pan Borneo Highway project execution, which is the catalyst for the development of Sabah,” he said in the policy speech during the opening of the state legislative assembly sitting on Tuesday (Sept 21).
He said this was part of the many infrastructure projects to be carried out to boost various sectors in this state, as well as the people's prosperity.
Juhar noted how the five-year 12MP spanning from this year until 2025 was the most challenging for Sabah due to the economic uncertainties domestically and globally.
He said that one of Sabah's major economic contributors - the tourism sector - was among the worst hit.
“Tourism arrivals into Sabah last year was only 977,460, compared to 4.2 million arrivals in 2019, which is a 76.7% reduction," said Juhar.
He added that for the first six months of 2021, the figure dropped by 85.2% to 108,862 compared to 736,921 in the same period in 2020.
“Tourism receipts for this period also suffered a decline of 88%, garnering only RM174mil compared to RM1.45bil in the same period last year,” he added.
Juhar said the state government has already taken the initiative to create the Sabah Tourism Recovery Roadmap as a guideline to revive this sector, where it includes developing basic tourism facilities especially in rural areas.
He added that efforts to conserve the state's cultural and natural heritage is on-going, among them the rehabilitation efforts of Wisma Radio Sabah which was formerly part of the RTM Sabah complex.
“The building was made into a radio broadcast centre back in the 60s and it once hosted the Cobbold Commission Conference in February 1962 in relation to Sabah’s participation in forming the Federation of Malaysia.
“Now it is being reclaimed by the state government due to its significant historic value and its recognition as part of the state's cultural heritage in September 2017,” he said, and congratulated Radio Sabah Alumni Association for fighting to maintain and conserve the structure.