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Fadillah: Priority for Pan Borneo highway upgrade


FULFILLING PLEDGE: ’BN govt will carry out promise in manifesto’

KUCHING: UPGRADING of the 2,000km Pan Borneo highway is one of the projects that is high on the list of priorities of the new Works Minister Datuk Fadillah Yusof.

"Because this is what the people expect. It's also a promise made by   Barisan Nasional in its manifesto," Fadillah said  after his meeting with Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud at  the Parti Pesaka Bumiputers Bersatu (PBB) headquarters in Jalan Bako, here, yesterday.

All the newly appointed ministers and deputy ministers in the federal cabinet from PBB attended the meeting.

The 2,083km highway, whose construction commenced in 1963, starts at Sematan on the Sarawak/West Kalimantan border and ends at Serudong on the Sabah/East Kalimantan border.

For a start, Fadillah would use the ministerial briefing to  be given today to get his bearing on where to start.

"The Pan Borneo highway is one of the priorities but then again, we need to look at it from the state (Sarawak's) perspective. What is the priority of the state?"  

Fadillah said the highway, which also passes through Brunei, would be used to open up more rural areas via the construction of secondary or feeder roads.    He said when the highway was upgraded, "there will be added value to what we are doing like building roads to connect rural areas".

"There will be added value when we bring development to the area. When the area is developed, it will bring increased income to people living there."

On the meeting with Taib, Fadillah said it was "to get guidance, directions and to understand the aspirations of the state government".

He said some policies formulated at the federal level were sometimes not suitable for the state and the meeting was to get pointers on how they could "reconcile these differences with local needs".

"Because Sarawak's needs and the peninsula's needs are different, I, therefore, have to find out where our focus should be."

Fadillah said  Taib had stressed  on his ministry to focus on improving the infrastructure in Sarawak.   Fadillah is one of seven members of parliament from Sarawak named in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's  cabinet as full ministers. Four of them are from PBB.

Those present at the meeting yesterday were  Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim,  Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nancy Shukri and Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah.

Read more : The New Straits Times