SERIAN (Dec 6): The Federal government will ensure that the construction of Phase Two of the Sarawak Pan Borneo Highway from Pujut to Lawas is continued, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
The construction of the second phase of the megaproject had previously been approved by the federal government under Barisan Nasional (BN), but was cancelled when the federal government changed hands after the 2018 general election.
"I give a commitment that I together with Fadillah (Senior Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof) and CM (Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg) will discuss how to continue phase two and related roads referred to as redlines and missing link.
"I also give a commitment that we will not stop there, we will continue all projects for Sarawak," he said in his speech before opening the Serian Work Three Package alignment of the Pan Borneo Highway here on Sunday.
Also present were Fadillah and Abang Johari.
The 33.65-kilometre Serian Section alignment, which was fully completed on Saturday, involved upgrading the existing federal road from Bulatan Serian to Balai Ringin at a total cost of RM700 million.
It was part of the Work Three Package of the Pan Borneo Highway project from Bulatan Serian to Simpang Pantu inolving a total length of 75.015 kilometres.
Commenting further, Ismail Sabri said the federal government saw the Pan Borneo Highway project as very important for the people of Sarawak not only to facilitate travel but also to improve the local economy.
In fact, he said, much more was planned by the previous BN government for Sarawak but things changed when there was a change of the federal government in 2018.
"I want to mention that the impact of the change of government was huge not only at the federal level but also at state levels," he said.
Apart from road infrastructure, the federal government is also focusing on internet access with a target of 100% coverage to be achieved throughout Sarawak by the end of next year, said the prime minister.
"The government's focus now is on the digital economy because the world has changed, everything is at your fingertips.
"As such, the government has allocated a large amount for the National Digital Network Plan (JENDELA) project, more than RM4 billion, for better internet access in Sarawak," he said.
The federal government, he said, has given priority to the development of Sabah and Sarawak and this is proven when the allocation for infrastructure development expenditure for the Land Below the Wind (Sabah) and Land of the Hornbills (Sarawak) is 20% higher than the development allocation for the other states under the 2022 Budget.
"This move is to ensure that the states of Sabah and Sarawak together develop in line with the aspirations of Keluarga Malaysia (Malaysian Family).
"It can further bridge the development gap between these two states and other states in Peninsular Malaysia," he said.
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