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S’wak to build own bridges
Posted on : 06 Jan 2019  Source of News: The Borneo Post online

S’wak to build own bridges

January 6, 2019, Sunday at 12:00 AM Matthew Umpang,

Sarawak government steps in after federal government deferred construction of Batang Lupar, Rambungan bridges


Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg

KUCHING: The bridge projects for Batang Rambungan and Batang Lupar, which have been deferred by the federal government, are now put under the purview of the Public Works Department (JKR) Sarawak.

In announcing this, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg says the projects are in the tendering process.

It was reported that the Sarawak government has agreed to allocate funds for the continuation of these bridge projects, as outlined by Abang Johari when tabling the 2019 Sarawak Budget of RM11.9 billion – the highest in Sarawak’s history.

He also confirms that projects would be offered to contractors via open tender, as it is the new policy of the Sarawak government, under the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) rule.

“Under the previous federal administration, a lot of infrastructure projects had been planned for the people of Sarawak, including these two bridges. Now that it looks like the new federal government is not going to help us build the two bridges, we shall build them (ourselves),” Abang Johari spoke during the launch of ‘Fiesta Samariang’ at Kampung Lintang jetty here yesterday.

He added that the Sarawak government should be able to seek new incomes through policies such as the imposition of the five per cent sales tax on petroleum products.

He also said upon completion, the Batang Rambungan and Batang Lupar bridges would become vital components of Sarawak’s coastal road network.

Previously, the Batang Lupar bridge project’s cost was supposed to be borne equally by the Sarawak and the federal governments, while the Batang Rambungan bridge project was to be funded by the Sarawak government – with the federal government to supposedly reimburse the costs later on.

Meanwhile, Abang Johari pointed out that Sarawak would not stop fighting for Sarawak’s rights as enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

According to him, with GPS now being an entity in its own right, it should be able to do this.

Abang Johari also assured all Sarawakians that through GPS, Sarawak ‘should be capable of taking care of itself’.

“When we (political parties under GPS – Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu, Sarawak United Peoples Party, Parti Rakyat Sarawak and Progressive Democratic Party) – were in the Barisan Nasional coalition, every decision had to be made via consensus; because of that, we (political parties) from Sarawak at the time had no choice, and that was why we were not able to fight for our rights.

“Now that Sarawak parties have an entity of its own in GPS, we are now able to do so,” he said.

Petra Jaya MP Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof, Assistant Minister of Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali who is Samariang assemblywoman, as well as Kuching North Datuk Bandar Datuk Abang Abdul Wahap Abang Julai, were among those present at the event.