By Nigel Edgar
LUNDU, Jan 26: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg today acknowledged Works Minister Baru Bian’s hard work in ensuring that the Pan Borneo Highway project continues uninterrupted.
He said for the sake of the rakyat and the state and despite political differences, the state government continued to have a close working relationship with the Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government.
“Baru Bian is a hard worker also. He continued from Datuk Fadillah Yusof, another Sarawakian, as Works Minister. Thanks to Fadillah for being Works Minister before, and after the change of government, we are very lucky to have another Sarawakian appointed as Works Minister.
“Political and party differences aside and Sarawak first, we thank the PH government for appointing Baru Bian,” he said at the opening of the Sematan-Telok Melano stretch of the Pan Borneo highway project near here this morning.
Abang Johari opined that if the federal government were to appoint a West Malaysian as Works Minister, the Pan Borneo highway project, among some other infrastructure development projects in the state, might be shelved due lack of understanding of Sarawak.
“That is why, although our political alignments are different, we (state government and PH government) can work together closely.
He reiterated that his administration would be a `friendly opposition’ and would work closely with the PH government for the benefit of the people.
Meanwhile, Abang Johari revealed that there are development projects in the pipeline for the Tanjung Datu constituency to ensure it is connected by road to Kuching and Pantai Damai “because the two are the hubs of tourism for Kuching”.
Due to the financial constraints of the federal government, the state government took over the construction of the RM100 million Rambungan bridge, connecting Tanjung Datu to Kuching through Matang. This will make the Kuching-Sematan journey shorter compared to the Batu Kawa-Bau route.
“We don’t mind taking over from you, Baru Bian, because of the financial constraints of the federal government. We may not have tolls on our roads, but we impose ‘tolls’ on our oil and gas (with the 5 per cent sales tax). We will use that to build our bridges,” he said.
Apart from that, he also revealed that the Sematan jetty would be upgraded at a cost of RM5 million. There would also be housing development under the affordable Rumah Spektra (Skim Perumahan Khas Rakyat) Permata. — DayakDaily