KUCHING: Sarawak looks forward to working closely with newly-appointed Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Works Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi on rural road development in the state.
Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said Sarawak still needed to build at least 2,000km of roads to connect longhouses and villages in the interior.
"Our plan is for this to happen by 2030, but it will certainly need a substantial amount of funds," he said when embarking on his monthly monitoring of road and bridge construction projects in Kuching and Samarahan divisions on Monday (Dec 5).
Congratulating Ahmad Zahid on his appointment as DPM and Rural and Regional Development Minister, Uggah said he looked forward to working with him in Sarawak's pursuit of developing more rural roads.
He also hoped to discuss with Ahmad Zahid on how to channel more funds to Sarawak and speed up the implementation of rural projects.
"We need to brief him on the various issues Sarawak is facing in implementing rural projects.
"The bottom line is that we need more funds," he said.
Uggah was also eager to work closely with Nanta on improving connectivity in Sarawak through federal roads.
"We are thankful that a Sarawakian is again helming the Works Ministry.
"We expect to work with him in the same warm manner we forged with the previous minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof," he said.
Uggah said high on his wish list was for the Sarawak Public Works Department to be accorded the status of a technical department.
"This is an outstanding issue that we will bring up, along with the maintenance of federal roads in the state.
"We would like to reiterate that Sarawak still needs more roads in order to catch up with the rest of the country," he added.
Uggah was accompanied by state Infrastructure and Port Development Ministry permanent secretary Chew Chee Yaw to visit the Batang Rambungan, Sungai Belian and Sungai Rayu bridge projects.
They also checked on the progress of the upgrading works at Jalan Matang Baru and the five roundabouts along the Kuching-Samarahan Expressway.