SIBU, Aug 13 ― Sarawak is focusing on infrastructure development towards opening up of new development corridors in line with its target of becoming a developed and high-income state by 2030.
Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan today said road construction connecting the rural and coastal areas with urban areas would give the people connectivity to ports, airports, water, electricity and telecommunications which could help uplift their lives.
“The people have vast undeveloped land because there is no road connectivity for them to do so. Now we are building roads so that they can develop their land and sell their products.
“However, with the small populace that we have, it is not a big market for all the products, thus we have to go for export market and good road connectivity will help us do it.”
Awang Tengah said this at the handing-out of cheques for compensation for land acquired for the proposed Sarawak Second Trunk Road Package C2: Upgrading of Tanjung Genting Road from the Tulai Road junction to Lanang Bridge, Sibu ― Priority 2 construction project, here.
He said China was underdeveloped in the 1960’s and 1970’s but after its government focused on infrastructure development right up to the rural areas, the country began to rise till it now became the second largest economy in the world, causing uneasiness to the United States.
“When I was in Shandong province, I could see vegetable farms along the highways. The province is one of the many food baskets in the country,” he said.
On the rationale behind Sarawak’s second trunk road project, which received criticism from certain quarters, Awang Tengah said it was to stimulate economic activities in the rural areas, especially in modernising the farming methods to enable more farm produce to be churned out for the export market.
“It will also include fisheries and manufacturing. This infrastructure development will provide opportunities not only to the community to improve their living standard, but also to the private sector to expand their businesses,” he said.
A total of 199 cheques for RM5,243,178.80 in compensation were handed out to 160 landowners whose plots of land have been acquired for the project.
The second trunk road will become the alternative road to the coastal road and Pan Borneo Highway network which will shorten the travelling time from Kuching to Simanggang, Betong and Sibu.
Package C of the project comprises two sub packages for a distance of about 30 km, including the upgrading of Kelupu Road-Tanjung Genting Road-Lanang Bridge in Sibu from two to four lanes of R5 JKR standard highway. ― Bernama