Baru: I was only suggesting states use Marris funds for federal roads

Baru (seated centre) speaking to reporters at his New Year open house. Accompanying him are Saratok MP Ali Biju (left) and Port Klang assemblyman Azmizam Zaman Huri (right) and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) members.

By Nancy Nais

KUCHING, Jan 6: The Works Ministry will seek the Federal Cabinet’s approval to suggest to state governments to use the Malaysian Road Record Information System (Marris) allocation to maintain federal roads.

Its minister, Baru Bian, said due to the tight national budget, the allocation for road maintenance and repairs was not sufficient.

“We have this Marris fund, which has been allocated to all states since the time of the previous government. The allocation depends on the length, width and grades of the roads.

“Marris is a compulsory allocation to all state governments to maintain state roads. They are placed under a trust handled by the state governments. Once the money is given, it is the prerogative of that state, not the federal government, to decide whether they want to use the money or not.

“I was made to understand that some of these states have excess Marris allocation, which they keep in the bank as fixed deposits. If that is the case, then we can suggest to them to use the money to repair and maintain all roads,” Baru said at his New Year gathering here today.

He was clarifying an online news report on Jan 4, which he said was inaccurate. Baru denied saying that the federal government was asking state governments to cover the cost of maintaining federal and rural roads using their own funds this year.

Baru reiterated that while it is understood that once the allocation for Marris reached the states, the federal government could not touch or force the states to use it, “but there is no harm in suggesting”.

“After all, we are supposed to work together for the rakyat. Using Marris will help benefit the people, especially those in the rural areas,” he said.

He also suggested that the Marris allocation to be used to fix ‘Jiwa Murni’ roads, which are reportedly in horrendous conditions.

The ‘Jiwa Murni’ roads were carried out by the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) in cooperation with companies appointed by the previous government at a much lower cost.

According to previous auditor reports, the programme failed to meet the Public Works Department’s (PWD) standard. — DayakDaily