6,000km in new roads needed to link all settlements in Sarawak

A screengrab of Uggah delivering his winding-up speech during today's (May 26, 2022) DUN Sitting taken from a Sarawak Public Communications Unit (Ukas) livestream on Facebook.

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, May 26: An estimated 6,000km in new roads and upgrades to about 4,200km of existing sub-standard roads are needed in order to link all settlements in Sarawak.

Deputy Minister for Infrastructure and Port Development Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas revealed these preliminary findings gathered from the Database for Sarawak Rural Road Connectivity workshop conducted in March 2022 which among others aimed to establish a database and formulate strategies to achieve 100 per cent road connectivity throughout the length and breadth of Sarawak.

“A total of 30,650km of State roads and 1,591km of federal roads have been registered in Sarawak currently, excluding privately-owned roads such as plantation and logging roads.

“As our population is scattered, connectivity to rural settlements is one of the biggest struggles for us in Sarawak. With deep peat swamps, hills and mountainous areas, Sarawak’s challenging topography requires a huge amount of money for construction (of roads),” he told the august House when delivering his winding-up speech today.

However, Uggah who is also the Deputy Premier, emphasised that this would not be an excuse to neglect the rural populace for everyone deserves to enjoy Sarawak’s economic prosperity, social inclusivity and a sustainable environment.

Therefore, he gave assurance that rural road connectivity will remain the government’s top priority as it provides new opportunities, unlocks economic potential and forms the backbone of a functioning society.

The Pan Borneo Highway, Coastal Road Network, Second Trunk Road, Sarawak-Sabah Link Road and Trans Borneo Highway as well as 208 Projek Rakyat with a total cost of RM 8.1 billion are among the major infrastructure projects undertaken by his ministry to achieve this.

As for the Pan Borneo Highway, Uggah revealed that the completion of Phase 1 of the project costing RM16 billion expected in the year 2023 will enable a seamless, toll-free drive from Telok Melano to Miri.

“We will coordinate with the Public Works Ministry to ensure its timely completion,” he said.

As for the development of the Coastal Road Network, he explained that it involved three components — seven bridges to replace ferry crossings; connecting the “missing link” in Sibu, Bintulu and proposed second Kuching-Samarahan Trunk Road; and the upgrading and rehabilitation works on 331km of existing coastal roads which are divided into 30 packages.

All these projects are at various stages of construction with completion targeted for the year 2025. — DayakDaily