Clear the air on vital projects

(The Star) #1

THE rumblings are getting louder among the people of Sarawak concerning the fate of vital infrastructure projects promised by the previous administration and the silence of the new Pakatan Harapan Government so far.

During their full board meeting last week, Miri City Council councillors expressed concern about road construction and flyover projects promised before GE14 but not implemented yet.

Work on the proposed RM30mil new Miri Polyclinic project too has not proceeded. So too the proposed RM50mil Bekenu Hospital.

Tens of thousands of people need these health facilities.

The construction of new bridges and rural roads under the Defenceā€™s Ministry Jiwa Murni programme have also not proceeded.

All these are vital projects that were initiated by the Barisan Nasional Federal Government led by then Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The fall of Najib and Barisan during the 14th general electionon May 9 have placed these projects in Sarawak on an uncertain footing.

There is no indication so far from the new Pakatan administration under Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad whether Putrajaya will continue with the financing of these projects.

After GE14, the Sarawak government took over a few ongoing federal projects that were half-done like the Long Lama bridge project and tar-sealing of several timber roads in Baram.

In July, Sarawak Barisan Nasional politicians quit the Federal-led coalition to form Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) which declared themselves as friendly to Pakatan.

The Miri Polyclinic and Bekenu Hospital have not started construcĀ­tion. Only the ground-breaking ceremonies had been carried out.

The Jiwa Murni programme was announced by former Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein and include the Bakelalan to Bario road project in the highlands of the Sarawak-Kalimantan border.

The groundbreaking ceremony for that project was on April 9, 2016.

The native folk then spoke to me about the need for a road from Bakelalan to Bario which will lead to Miri eventually.

It will connect many populated villages along the way and transform the social and economic landscape.

The people hope that the new Government will set a strict deadline to complete the project.There had been cases in the past where rural road projects in Sara-wak were subject to lengthy delays.

The Army Corps must hasten the ground construction now during this hot and dry period before the rainy season starts.

The Bakelalan to Bario road project is one of the six Jiwa Murni projects undertaken in the state by the Army Corps.

The total cost of the six projects amounted to RM252mil and would be much more if built by the usual method involving the Public Works Department.

We in Sarawak hope Putrajaya will clear the air on the fate of these vital projects soon.