Baru urged to directly follow-up with fed govt on status of RM900 mln funding for SSLR

Dato Sri Doris Sophia Brodie

KUCHING, April 21: Former Works Minister Baru Bian should directly follow-up with Putrajaya to find out what happened to the RM900 million he had allocated for the SSLR, says PRS Women chief Dato Sri Doris Sophia Brodie.

“With regards to the funds for the said project (SSLR) where Baru Bian had claimed that he had reallocated RM900 million when he was Works Minister, perhaps he had done so and I would like to give him the benefit of the doubt.

“But, for him to substantiate his claim, I think best for him to instead target his query to clarify his doubts concerning the status and whereabouts of the RM900 million at Putrajaya. This is in view that this SSLR project is under the jurisdiction of the federal government,” said Doris in a statement yesterday.

Considering that Baru is the former Works Minister and more importantly as an MP and a fellow Sarawakian, Doris said she found it a little awkward that Baru did not seem to be committed to seeing through this project as he had not taken the initiative to at least ask and perhaps officially write to the current Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz to inquire.

“In fact, based on his statement, his understanding on the status of this project is only based on what’s announced by the current Works Minister, Dato Sri Fadillah Yusof sometime in August 2020. To YB Baru Bian, I want to say this: ‘if there’s a will, there’s a way’,” said Doris.

Fadillah had said, as reported by Bernama on 28 August 2020, that his ministry under the current government is consistent in respecting decisions made by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government of which Baru held the Works Minister portfolio.

Doris said in the case of Phase 1 of the Sarawak-Sabah Link Road (SSLR) project that is worth RM1.2 billion which was a directly negotiated project under the PH government, it needs to be referred back to the Finance Ministry for consideration as Fadillah’s ministry had decided that any previous decision on directly negotiated projects would be referred back to the Finance Ministry for consideration.

“This is because Works Ministry projects were amongst the many projects awarded through direct negotiations by the PH government during their 22 months reign,” Doris claimed.

The Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) Women chief asserted, the GPS-led Sarawak government has taken it upon itself to develop, construct and fund a dual carriageway (Northern Coastal Highway) from Lawas to Merapok in Lawas linking the federally funded SSLR.

This Northern Coastal Highway, she said, also runs through ninety per cent of a green field area in Limbang.

“In view that that there is no direct proper road access linking Miri-Marudi-Mulu, hence the GPS-led Sarawak government also proposed to develop and fund a new high impact road link from Miri to Long Lama and other areas such as Marudi, Mulu and Long Panai which will eventually link to the proposed new alignment SSLR Phase 2. This project is estimated to cost the Sarawak government RM1.5 billion.

“In short, the GPS-led Sarawak government continues to be committed and shall strive to put in place the necessary infrastructure towards achieving its vision of becoming a developed state by 2030. This also includes fully funding the three bridges i.e. Batang Lupar Bridge, Batang Igan Bridge and Batang Rambungan Bridge costing approximately RM950 million which was cancelled during PH’s time when Baru was the Works Minister,” Doris added. — DayakDaily