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How Much for Sabah Road Slopes Repairs? - Dr. Jeffrey

Kota Kinabalu:“The federal Works Minister and his PWD should be commended for speedily inspecting, finalizing and approving the estimated costs of repairs of recent flood damaged roads and slopes in Terengganu, Pahang and Johor of RM56.9 million” said Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, STAR Sabah Chief, commenting on the announcement by the federal Works Minister in Kemaman recently.

Sadly and unfortunately, there is no mention of any allocations for repairs of roads and slopes in Sabah and Sarawak that were caused by the recent floods.
Either the federal Works Ministry has not bothered with the damage in Sabah and Sarawak or the PWD in Sabah has been sleeping on their jobs.   If the former, it would not be surprising, given the side-lining of the Borneo State by the federal government all this while on roads and slopes repairs.

The people of Sabah and Sarawak would have expected that with the Minister from Sarawak, more priority would have been given to the Borneo States.  Unfortunately, it has not happened.

Even without the damage from the recent floods, Sabah has been crying out for the RM920 million needed since 2009 for 647 road slopes failures, and as September 2013, RM2 billion backlog for road repairs and another RM700 for repairs and upgrading of 62 bridges.

Now that road damage and landslides caused by the recent floods cutting off traffic in Sabah and Sarawak are in the news again, one would have expected a different and more positive response from the federal government. 

Unfortunately, the announcement by the Minister has surely re-affirmed that there will be no priority from the federal government for roads and slopes in Sabah.

Perhaps, it is time for the federal Works Minister to review the needs of the Borneo States and allocate the necessary federal funds for Sabah and Sarawak.There can be no excuse for not allocating these funds since they have been readily and speedily approved for Terengganu, Pahang and Johor within  a month.

While the Minister is carrying out his review, and now that he has inspected the on-going construction of the RM225 million Bukit Kuang Bridge in Kemaman, he should also impress on his subordinates to review the needs of bridges in Sabah on the Pan-Borneo Highway.  

If the Bukit Kuang Bridge is built as a 4-lane dual-carriageway, there is no reason for bridges like the 2-lane new Beaufort-Sg. Padas Bridge to be built on the Pan-Borneo Highway anymore.  

Sabah is a bigger producer of oil and gas and contributed more to Petronas and the federal coffers than Terengganu.   It is insulting for Sabahans and Sarawakians that the PM has only allocated RM500 million for the 2,300 km. Pan-Borneo Highway in 2014 but a single bridge project in Terengganu is allocated RM225 million.

Back home, Sabahans are wondering what happened to the Chief Minister, the Minister of Infrastructure Development and the Sabah Government?  They are also wondering why they have taken no action to demand for the federal funds that are badly needed to repair the roads, road slopes and bridges.  What could be their excuse be this time when Sabah will be contributing RM26.6 billion in 2014 to Petronas and the federal government?

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