Sunday, 2 June 2013

Ministry to seek funding for Sarawak’s infrastructure

Datuk Fadillah Yusof
KUALA LUMPUR: The Works Ministry will seek funding from the federal government to develop Sarawak’s infrastructure, particularly road transportation connectivity, in the highly-challenging hilly terrain of Belaga and Kapit.

Its minister, Datuk Fadillah Yusof said the budget, likely to come under the 11th Malaysia Plan, would be utilised to connect the two areas to major centres like Bintulu and lessen the community’s dependence on water transportation.

He said the cost of road infrastructure development for Belaga and Kapit would come up to more than RM300 million.

The areas are at present connected by badly maintained roads, mainly used by timber lorries.

“The area around Kapit and Belaga is very challenging due to the hilly terrain and with a large river.

“At present, Kanowit, which is not far from Kapit, is already linked to Sibu,” he told Bernama in an interview yesterday.

He said the Rural and Regional Development Ministry, with the Malaysian Armed Forces under the latter’s “Jiwa Murni” programme, had joined hands to improve the Belaga and Sungai Asap areas.

“At present, the roads linking these two areas are logging roads, which are not well maintained,” he added.

When the plan is eventually put in place, he said the road network from Belaga to Sibu will be a reality.

During the 2013 budget speech, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said rural areas will continue to be developed to reduce the urban-rural disparity, with RM4.5 billion being allocated to implement various rural infrastructure development projects.

Some of the projects include providing RM1.2 billion to develop 441 kilometres of rural roads and roads to link villages, RM1.6 billion for rural utility infrastructure projects involving water and electricity supply, as well as RM100 million to supply 40,000 water tanks for rainwater harvesting, particularly in the interior of Sabah and Sarawak. — Bernama

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