Ministry wants talks on rural road rehabilitation to be wrapped up soon

MIRI: The Ministry of Rural and Regional Development (KKLW) wants the negotiations and decisions on the almost RM200-million rural road rehabilitation and upgrading projects in Sarawak by three designated contractors to be wrapped up speedily and the projects be implemented by the first half of this year.

Deputy Minister of Rural and Regional Development Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi said this at the press conference after a briefing by Miri Division Public Works Department (PWD) at its headquarters here yesterday.

Baram constituency has the lion’s share of the allocation at RM70 million, followed by Kapit (RM59 million). Other areas to benefit from the projects are in Betong, Sri Aman and other divisions.

“We want the elected representatives, KKLW, state PWD and the contractors to finalise the roads and stretches by mid-March so that works can start as soon as possible this year,” he said.

He assured that his ministry would be cooperating with all the stakeholders when making a decision, and take into account critical inputs from the elected representatives and technical advice from PWD and the contractors. Nanta had earlier visited Long Bedian with PWD officers to address the water supply issues in Telang Usan.

According to him, there are about 199 km of disused logging roads that need to be rehabilitated as they are the lifeline to the rural villages and longhouses.

He, however, urged the rural communities to be patient as the government needed time to complete the projects.

“It would not be possible to meet the demand of everyone, but this is only Phase IV and would be continued in Phase V and VI to come,” he said of the need to stagger the road rehabilitation due to budget constraints.

Meanwhile, Baram MP Anyi Ngau thanked Nanta for his support and attention to the needs of the constituents in Baram that covers Mulu, Telang Usan and Marudi state constituencies.

Also present were State Legislative Assembly Deputy Speaker and Mulu assemblyman Dato Gerawat Gala, Assistant Minister of Local Government and Marudi assemblyman Datu Dr Penguang Manggil and Miri PWD divisional engineer Chong Chi Fam and officers.