15-year wait for road connectivity over for five isolated villages

Wan Junaidi (seated, right) listening to the villagers of Semilang, Beradek, Tanju, Sungai Pinang and Tiang Api on how they want the road to be built.

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By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Dec 27: The long awaited 17km road linking the five villages of Semilang, Beradek, Tanju, Sungai Pinang and Tiang Api is expected to start August 2020 and be completed by early 2022.

After a 15-year wait, the road plan will be finalised this coming April to allow it to be tendered out in June or July so that construction may start in August.

Announcing the road project as “Upgrading of Village Road of Kampung Beradek Semilang, Sarawak” at a cost of RM45 million at Sarawak Works Department Southern Region Office, Santubong MP Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the building of the road will open up the five isolated villages and its 5,000 residents to its surrounding areas.

He said the five villages of Semilang, Beradek, Tanju, Sungai Pinang and Tiang Api have been isolated from mainstream development.

Noticing that the villages needed to be linked up with a major road, Wan Junaidi said he tried to fight for the road but the road project did not get prioritised.

At one time, an allocation of RM65 million was allocated for the road project, but as it was not a prioritised project, the money was reverted back to the federal government.

In 2017, Wan Junaidi said he raised the issue again in the cabinet and was approved by former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

During this time, as federal government did not appoint a consultant, Sarawak JKR could not proceed with the building of the road, Wan Junaidi explained.

Then came May 2018 where there was a change of government and the road project again faced another setback.

Wan Junaidi did not give up and sought the assistance of Deputy Rural Development Minister R. Sivarasa who agreed for the road to be built with an allocation of RM45 million.

However, the road plan of the Rural Development Ministry involved another area and did not go to the five villages. This caused the villagers to seek Wan Junaidi.

“Today, we have decided when the road must be built. Once the road linking the five villages is completed, we will build another linking the five villages to Tanjung Bako,” said Wan Junaidi.

From Tanjung Bako, there will be a road linking up to Stakan, thus opening up the five villages to greater Kuching. —DayakDaily