MIRI: The Ministry of Defence will hand over the Long Luping-Buduk Nur road which was built under the militarys Jiwa Murni programme to Public Works Department (JKR) with an initial allocation of RM16 million for road maintenance.
Lawas MP Datuk Henry Sum Agong said this would mean long-term road maintenance would be in place for the 75 km road.
The federal government has agreed to allocate RM16 million for road maintenance and the state government has also agreed to the hand-over, he said.
He thanked the state government and Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem for this development, saying it was for the benefit of the Lun Bawang community and socio-economic development of the highlands.
Henry was in Miri yesterday to attend the awards presentation ceremony by Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.
Henry said JKR would decide on the road maintenance approach for this vital lifeline between Ba Kelalan and Lawas, and did not rule out that the work might be contracted out.
This road was built using soil stabilisation technology by the engineering corps of the Armed Forces after the idea was first mooted by then political secretary to prime minister, Datuk Shahlan Ismail, after a visit in 2009.
By 2012, Lun Bawangs who had longed for a decent road to get home to their villages in Ba Kelalan, finally get to enjoy the first all-weather road instead of the dirt road which was impassable during rainy spells.
The success led to the Jiwa Murni road project replicated throughout the state. The journey from Ba Kelalan to Lawas could take up to three days during the rainy season but is slashed to barely six hours now.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the cost (of Jiwa Murni projects) was a quarter of the cost of a conventional tar-sealed road.
With the Jiwa Murni approach we could build more roads and the Long Luping-Buduk Nur road with nine Bailey bridges was built at a cost of RM52 million as opposed to RM300 million if it were built the conventional method, he said.