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‘Comprehensive plan needed for better road connectivity’ – Masing
Posted on : 01 Feb 2018  Source of News: THE BORNEO POST ONLINE

‘Comprehensive plan needed for better road connectivity’ – Masing

February 1, 2018, Thursday Peter Sibon,


Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing

KUCHING: Sarawak needs a comprehensive plan for its infrastructure development to provide better accessibility to major towns and settlements in the next 10 years.

Minister of Infrastructure Development and Transportation Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing said there was a need for the state to ‘think big in order to gain big’ in terms of its road network.

“We have to think big so that we can have better road connectivity that is on par with that in Peninsular Malaysia. Only then can we have a conducive environment to further develop our economy, and have a road network on par with those in Peninsular Malaysia,” Masing said when contacted yesterday.

He said to have a comprehensive road system, Sarawak must have at least two major road networks running almost parallel to each other; through the implementation of the Pan-Borneo Highway and the Coastal Highway.

“Only with the completion of these two ‘backbones’  major road systems in Sarawak can we have a better road network, which will gradually include the subsidiary roads to connect smaller towns and settlements throughout the state.”

He also said that to complete the coastal road and eight major bridges, as well as the second trunk road, the state government will need at least RM10 billion in the next 10 years.

“I would like to reiterate the state government’s commitment to deliver two major infrastructure development over the next 10 years, namely to complete the construction of coastal highway which will include the construction of eight major bridges and the second trunk road which will be divided into two packages.

Package A will involve a road network from Roban-Sebuyau-Kota Samarahan with a length of 118km while Package B will be the 148km Betong-Sri Aman-Lingga-Sebuyau-Kota Samarahan.

“Both Packages A and B with a total distance of 266 km will converge on Kota Samarahan. The construction of these two roads will reduce the travel time from Sibu to Kuching by 2 ½ hours which also reduces fuel cost. The roads will be very beneficial to our future business communities and other road users,” said Masing in his speech in support of a motion by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg in conjunction with the 150th anniversary celebration of the State Legislative Assembly here Tuesday.

He said to finance these projects, the state government would secure loans, which would later be offset by the economic spin-offs from the opening up of more land and the use of these roads.

Masing also revealed that his ministry was involved in the feasibility studies of the state’s Light Rail Transit (LRT) which Abang Johari envisioned would be operational in the next 10 years.

The proposed LRT will connect Kuching-Kota Samarahan-Serian in order to ease traffic congestion.