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New coastal link to boost local economy
Posted on : 07 Apr 2019  Source of News: The Borneo Post Online

New coastal link to boost local economy

By Anthony Aga on April 7, 2019, Sunday at 12:03 AM News, Sarawak

Abang Johari (front, fourth right) puts in place a model of the Batang Rajang Bridge. Seen, from front left, are Juanda, Abdullah, Tiong, Uggah, Awang Tengah, Julaihi, Len Talif, and Mawan. From back left are Yusuf, Huang, Dr Jerip, Dr Sim, and Naroden.3

SARIKEI: The new Sungai Pasi, Sarikei coastal road link to Tanjung Manis, Mukah will shorten the journey to just 45 minutes from the current two and a half hours through Sibu.

During the ground-breaking for the project yesterday, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the coastal road network would improve Sarawak’s economy.

“Being one of the Coastal Road Network packages, the construction of the 17km road from Jalan Pasi, Sarikei to Tanjung Manis, Mukah, which includes the 1.2km Batang Rajang Bridge, will serve as the connector of the missing link between Sarikei and Tanjung Manis,” he said.

The new road would shorten the road journey between Sarikei and Tanjung Manis from 141km currently, to 50km.

Abang Johari reiterated that the ongoing Coastal Road Network and Second Trunk Road project, costing a total of RM11 billion, would be implemented with Sarawak funds as the federal government was unable to assist.

He pointed out that the Pakatan Harapan (PH)-led federal government had cancelled the Batang Igan and Rambungan bridges, which had previously been approved, and the RM1 billion Batang Lupar Bridge, which was supposed to be equally shared with Sarawak.

Abang Johari said the Coastal Road Network and Second Trunk Road project would involve upgrading approximately 300km of the existing 896km coastal road, including constructing 10 new bridges and 232km of the Second Trunk Road over a span of eight years.

The project is set to provide coastal areas including Samarahan, Sadong Jaya, Sebuyau, Kabong, Tanjung Manis, Daro, Matu, Balingian, and Bintulu with seamless connectivity to the Pan Borneo Highway, while the Second Trunk Road would link Kuching and Sibu to the Pan Borneo Highway via Sebuyau/Sri Aman/Betong, he said.

“I believe the people of Sarawak will benefit positively from the development of the Coastal Road Network and Second Trunk Road on various levels, especially in terms of socioeconomic development.

“The milestone project will not only reduce travel time of residents within the surrounding areas, but will help boost the local economy due to improved accessibility,” he said.

Abang Johari also urged Sarawakians, especially those in the rural areas, to continue trusting and supporting Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) to govern and manage Sarawak’s resources for their benefit.

Meanwhile, Assistant Minister of Coastal Road Datuk Julaihi Narawi said the Sungai Pasi-Tanjung Manis road project costing RM321 million had been awarded through open tender and should reach completion by March 21, 2023.

Assistant Minister of Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Datu Len Talif Salleh said the Sungai Pasi-Tanjung Manis road project would be a game-changer for areas such as Pakan, Julau, Meradong, and Sarikei.

“The project was promised by the Chief Minister less than a year ago and today, the Chief Minister comes back to honour it. It shows that promises made by the GPS government are neither rhetoric nor political gimmicks,” he said.

Among those present at the event were Deputy Chief Ministers Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas and Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan; Minister of Utilities Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom; Minister of Local Government and Housing Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian; Assistant Minister of E-Commerce Datuk Mohd Naroden Majais; Assistant Minister of Transportation Datuk Dr Jerip Susil; Assistant Minister of Corporate Affairs Abdullah Saidol; Bintulu MP Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing; Tanjung Manis MP Yusuf Abd Wahab; Pakan assemblyman Dato Sri William Mawan Ikom; Meradong assemblyman Datuk Ding Kuong Hiing; Jemoreng assemblyman Datuk Dr Juanda Jaya; Repok assemblyman Datuk Seri Huang Tiong Sii; Daro assemblyman Shafiee Ahmad; and Meluan assemblyman Rolland Duat.