Works Minister to Ensure Pan Borneo Highway Completes on Time
Works Minister Baru Bian says he will personally follow up closely the ongoing Pan Borneo Highway construction.
"This is my commitment to ensure the mega project spanning Sarawak and Sabah is successfully and timely constructed," he said after launching the Selangau district Teachers' Day celebration on Saturday night, 4 August.
"For a start, I am planning to visit the various construction sites from Telok Melano (Lundu), Kuching to Miri on the Sarawak side with ministry officers during the first phase of construction.
"Then we will visit the Sabah side beginning from Limbang (Sarawak). The schedules are now being worked out," he said.
The 2,325km highway costing about RM29 billion is scheduled for completion by 2021.
The cost is, however, still being reviewed.
Meanwhile, Baru said his position as Works Minister had increased his knowledge, especially on road network system and government buildings nationwide.
"But as far as Sarawak is concerned, it is still lagging far behind.
"It is the agenda of the new Pakatan Harapan Government under Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's leadership to improve on this despite the financial constraint," he said.
According to him, the Pakatan Government will focus on a holistic approach, free from corrupt practices and abuse of position on all projects implemented through transparent management conducted via open tender.
Meanwhile, the Works Ministry is looking into the possibility of constructing an alternative road in Sarawak without going through Brunei to ease land travelling for motorists.
Baru said one of the options under consideration at the moment was to use Marudi-Lawas road as the proposed route to be diverted without going through Brunei.
"I do hope the present government would understand and agree to the implementation of this plan within the next five years," he told reporters after attending Pfizer Malaysia Health Fellows appreciation ceremony held at a hotel in Miri, Sunday (5 August).
Baru said the proposal was first brought up by himself during the winding-up session for his ministry at Dewan Rakyat recently and will be followed up soon as the plan would bring positive impact to the affected areas and benefit the people staying in rural areas in Baram, Limbang and Lawas.
He said, at present, motorists had only one choice to travel between Miri and Limbang by land, that is by crossing Brunei borders which is part of the second phase of Sarawak portion of Pan Borneo Highway project, which posed too many problems to the locals.
Baru, who is Ba'Kelalan Assemblyman, said one of the problems were the strict traffic laws imposed by the neighbouring country such as on the use of tinted glass for vehicles.
For the record, Limbang MP Hasbi Habibollah had also voiced out the issue last year and called on the Federal Government to intervene after many Malaysian motorists were issued with tinted glass summonses especially those frequently travelling between Limbang and Brunei.
Hasbi proposed that the matter be discussed between Malaysia and Brunei as some motorists had to fork out RM180 to pay the summons to Brunei law enforcement agencies for having tinted glasses even though in certain cases it was not due to the vehicle owner's fault as the vehicles had its windows readily tinted by the manufacturer.
For the record, motorists also had to pass through eight Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) checkpoints and must have their passports stamped 16 times if they drove to and from Sarawak through Brunei to Sabah.