JPJ favours having road barriers

KUCHING: It will be easier for the Road Transport Department (JPJ) to monitor Bakun Road if the relevant authority builds road barriers to stop overloaded lorries carrying logs and oil palm fresh fruit bunches.

JPJ chief enforcement officer Albert Clement said overloaded lorries plying Bakun Road had become a major issue for locals, especially Sungai Asap resettlers, and politicians in the area.

The overloaded lorries, commonly known as lori hantu (ghost lorries) by locals as the drivers do not possess proper driving documents, have been terrorising road users and damaging the 120km road for a long time.

If there are road barriers in certain parts of Bakun Road, it will be much easier for us to monitor the whole stretch of road. It will also ensure that other road users will be safer, Albert told The Borneo Post here yesterday.

On a related issue, Albert warned that operators of kerata sapu (illegal taxis), would be dealt with accordingly.

He urged them to stop immediately as their vehicles would be seized if caught.

We have seized three kereta sapu (illegal taxis) at Pujut Terminal in Miri recently and will not tolerate such endeavour. We would also like to appeal to members of the public to refrain from using kereta sapu as they are not covered by insurance.

He revealed that under Ops Krismas, which started yesterday and will last until Jan 5, both JPJ and the police would be monitoring major roads in the state.

Meanwhile, PRS Youth information chief Bit Surang a resident from Uma Kelap, Sg Asap urged the relevant authority to build road barriers similar to the ones erected near Tanjung Batu area leading to ABF/Petronas Housing in Bintulu along Bakun Road.

If they can be built in Bintulu, why cant they be built along Bakun Road? asked Bit.

He said the people of Sg Asap had voiced their concerns many times on the issue.

The relevant authority should just build the barriers instead of negotiate with the timber and plantation companies. I strongly agree with (Land Development Minister) Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing that the government should just build the barriers to end the long outstanding issue.

We have voiced the issue so many times in the newspapers, but until now the problem exists, said Bit.

Recently, Masing had suggested that there was no point for the Ministry of Works to negotiate with the loggers and plantation owners in Bakun area anymore. Instead, it should just build the barriers.

I have read The Borneo Posts article on Bakun Road this morning (yesterday). Dont think of constructing barricades at Bakun Road.

Just do it. These loggers dont understand the meaning of negotiation or that the Bakun Road is not built for them to use.

I have suggested the use of barricades many times in the past. So, just build them before more accidents occur and many more lives are lost, Masing had told The Borneo Post recently.

Masing, who was on leave overseas, was reacting to the plan by Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof to hold a meeting with the loggers and plantation owners in Bakun area to find an amicable solution to the longstanding problem.

However, Fadillah was quick to point out that if the loggers and plantation owners refused to cooperate, then his ministry would have no other choice but to erect barricades in certain areas along the road.

That (building of barricades) we will have to do if the talks with the timber companies and plantations owners fail. After all, there is an alternative road that they can always use, Fadillah had told The Borneo Post recently.

A road user, surname Liu, had also complained to Masing via a short message service (SMS) that at about 8.30om on Wednesday, he and other passengers of a vehicle almost got into an accident with a lori hantu at Tubau-Bakun Road while on their way back to Bintulu.

It was raining heavily when a lori hantu travelling in the middle of the road narrowly missed us. It was Gods grace that saved us. Please set up a permanent Road Transport Department (JPJ) check point here instead of the daily operations by JPJ officers here from 10am to 4pm, Liu pleaded.

Liu had also forwarded his (SMS) to Belaga assemblyman Liwan Lagang, who is Assistant Minister of Culture and Heritage; Hulu Rajang MP Wilson Ugak Kumbong and Albert.

Another road user, who preferred to remain anonymous, had also sent a photograph of a tractor carrying a piece of log along Bakun Road to The Borneo Post recently and urged the relevant authorities to take stern action against the culprit.