Perak govt disappointed with Deputy Works Minister over East-West Highway comments

IPOH: The Perak government is disappointed with the reply of the Deputy Works Minister in Parliament that no application was submitted to upgrade the East-West Highway from Gerik to Jeli, says Datuk Seri Saarani Mohamad.

The Mentri Besar said a formal application signed by him was submitted to the ministry last year.

Saarani added that he also met with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim before the tabling of the Budget on the need to upgrade that stretch of the road.

He said that the upgrade is the state government’s top priority.

“I was shocked when the Deputy Minister said that the state government did not put in such an application. If it can't be approved, just say it - but don’t say that the state government never applied,” added Saarani.

“This makes it look like the state government is not doing its job, is not responsible,and not concerned, which is unfair to us,” he said at a press conference after launching a local government colloquium at the banquet hall of the state secretariat building here today. (March 21)

Saarani was responding to the answer given in Parliament by Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Mohamad to a question by Gerik MP Fathul Huzir Ayob, who asked about the allocation to upgrade the highway.

Fathul had asked what were the efforts taken by the government to upgrade or rebuild the highway that was constructed over 40 years ago.

He had said that there were always accidents along the highway linking Perak, Kedah and Kelantan, adding that many of them were fatal crashes.

In response, Abdul Rahmansaid that the government has been maintaining the 222.94 km long stretch of the highway linking Baling-Gerik-Jeli, but checks by the ministry found that no upgrading applications were received from the Kelantan, Perak, and Kedah state governments under the third rolling plan.

On this, Saarani said the ministry should be the one bidding to the Finance Ministry for the allocation.

“This is the right procedure for the yearly budget.The ministry gets its input on the matter from the Perak Public Works Department. The former Works Minister had also paid a visit last year to see the condition of the highway for himself,” said Saarani.

“So when the deputy minister makes such a statement, it is not right, and accurate. I am highlighting this so that the deputy minister will correct his statement during the winding-up speech,” he added.

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