KUCHING: Apart from the urgency to upgrade the Ba Kelalan Road, state Parti Keadilan Rakyat chairman Baru Bian highlighted the need to repair the Lawas-Damit road.
According to Baru who is also Ba Kelalan assemblyman, the bad condition of the Lawas-Damit road has caused the death of a motorcyclist.
“There are other stretches on Ba Kelalan roads that need repair. For example, the Lawas-Damit road, which is riddled with potholes, where a fatal accident happened last month when a motorcyclist swerved to avoid a pothole.
“The Minister (of Infrastructure Development and Transport Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing) had told the Dewan in May that for 2017, a sum of RM3.6 million has been provided for the repair of critical stretches of this road and that the potholes will be tar-sealed to form a paved surface.
“So far there is no sign of any repairs yet aside from stones and gravel being thrown into the potholes,” said Baru in a press statement today.
He said the problems with roads in Ba Kelalan have been long standing.
“I have brought them up on numerous occasions in the press and in the Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN), to no avail. Therefore I am glad to know that the MP for Lawas, Datuk Henry Sum had attempted to get some remedy from the federal government, albeit to no avail also.
“I was also glad to read that Deputy Chief Minister James Masing had said that there is no political discrimination in infrastructure development, and that it is based on needs and availability of funds.
“Being a matter in the federal list, the national government is responsible for supplying road infrastructure for Sarawak. However, it appears that there has never been enough allocation for our roads, as stated by (the then Minister Dato Sri) Michael Manyin in December 2015 in the DUN that “… there is no real allocation given to us from the Federal Government…”
He said these statements from the ministers had shown that the needs of Sarawakians have always been the lowest of the Barisan Nasional (BN) federal government’s priorities.
“We should not be surprised because Sarawak has always been considered the BN’s fixed deposit and most of the people have been content to put up with the empty promises of BN time after time,” he said.
On Ba Kelalan Road, he said he welcomed the proposal of a timber company to upgrade the road to R1 standard at the cost of RM35 million.
“I hope that the work will start immediately with repairs to the worst areas as shown in the report. This will help to instil confidence in the people that this talk is not merely political rhetoric,” he said.
He said, even though Sarawakians had hoped to get better roads as their needs are genuine and pressing, they did not expect the federal government to pay any heed.
“After all, we know that the prime minister has plans to send whatever money the country has left to help make America great again. They have not responded to an Assistant Federal Minister’s ‘ample’ requests for help, and nothing is going to change unless Sarawakians show their displeasure at the ballot boxes.
“In the thrusts of our Pakatan Harapan manifesto which was revealed on Sunday, the third thrust is the promise to guarantee the right to Equitable Basic Infrastructure and Land Development.
“We will ensure that the basic needs of every Sarawakian is met. Voting BN will be accepting the same shabby treatment we have been receiving from them. Sarawakians have nothing to lose by giving PH a chance,” said Baru.