A recent survey conducted by the Sarawak Infrastructure Development Ministry concluded that it would need close to RM20 billion to provide connectivity to the scattered villages in Sarawak and accessibility to 31,512 people.
Minister of Works, Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof said in 2016 alone, Sarawak had allocated RM5.9 billion for development spending with rural development taking up RM2.6 billion of the allocation.
“Thus by 2030, we aim to fully provide infrastructure and connectivity to Sarawak’s rural areas, to be on par with the rest of the nation,” he said in his keynote address at the panel session on ‘Enhancing Infrastructure and Connectivity, The Lifeblood of Development’ at the 3rd Sarawak Business and Investment Summit, here, today.
Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem officiated at the summit organised by the Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute (Asli).
“We are driven to ensure that by 2030 the state is connected by a complete road network which will involve expanding and upgrading all rural roads that will benefit the Sarawak economy in the long term.
“Needless to say the financial aid from the federal government to build roads in the rural areas will ensure the completion of these roads on time.
“The upgraded road infrastructure will reduce maintenance costs through new technologies and methods such as utilising soil stabilisers and concrete that increase road durability to support heavy vehicles and enhance connectivity between the rural areas and urban economic centres,” he said.
Fadillah said the Pan Borneo Highway, the single largest infrastructure project implemented in East Malaysia connecting Sarawak, Sabah and Brunei Darussalam would be ready by 2021 and would be the transportation backbone of the two states.
Besides that, he said, it would be the key in ensuring that socio-economic development and job creation in both states were attainable.
Fadillah said the federal government had also approved four new projects, namely the Igan Bridge, Rambungan Bridge, Medan Jaya Flyover and Batang Lupar Bridge with a total cost of RM1.55 billion. The projects are to commence by the end of 2017.
“As Malaysia is in the final phase of its development in reaslising the goals of a developed and high-income nation status by 2020, the economic imperatives will have to be inclusive by encompassing the rural areas of the country and of which will put Sarawak’s infrastructure and connectivity a high priority on the national agenda.”
He said a developed, high-income economy required world-class infrastructure to support its economic activities which for this, the Sarawak state government had proactively formulated the Sarawak Socio-Economic Transformation Plan (SETP) covering a period of 15 years from 2016 until 2030.
He added that SETP would be executed in phases starting with the 11th Malaysian Plan to ensure Sarawak achieve a high-income and developed status by 2030.
The plan covers all sectors of the economy including roads, airports, ports, water, electricity, telecommunications, ICT, healthcare and education infrastructure which are essential to attract investments and facilitate business activities in the state.
Source : Bernama Online