Border road network must be in place before Indonesian capital shift

Tan Sri James Masing

By Peter Sibon

KUCHING, Aug 28: Sarawak must build the border or security road along its borders before the Indonesian government moved its capital to East Kalimantan by 2024.

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing said the security road linkages would be vital to ensure the state and country can be defended in times of uncertainties.

“We have to start building the road now to safeguard our territory, as well as to safeguard our multi-billion ringgit assets especially our four hydro-electric power (HEP) dams, which coincidentally, are located near the border,” he told DayakDaily here, today.

The map showing the proposed border/security road or third trunk road.

Masing suggested that the cost to build such security road linkages must be borne by the federal government.

“We are talking about national security. So, the project must be considered as a top priority for security reasons,” he said.

According to Masing, the estimated cost of constructing the road is about RM15 million per kilometre and the total length of such security road is about 1,000km, which would stretch from Lubok Antu right up to Ba’Kelalan.

“The RM15 billion must be raised by the federal government for the proposed project and should not burden the state,” he reiterated.

Masing, who is also Infrastructure and Port Development Minister, disclosed that the state government would also be building a new port at Tanjung Po, Bako, to cater for the increasing trade with Indonesia.

“The port must be able to cater for the needs of Sarawak in anticipation of what is to come (in East Kalimantan as Indonesia’s new capital). So, the port will have to be a deep sea port that will be able to cater for ocean liners and cruise ships,” he said.

The map showing the proposed deep-sea port at Tanjung Po.

Masing also suggested that said the current single lane road from Serian leading to the border at Tebedu Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex must also be upgraded to international standard, or at least upgraded to double lane.

On Monday, Indonesian President Joko Widodo has announced an area in East Kalimantan, near the regional cities of Balikpapan and Samarinda, as its new capital.

Joko Widodo, or fondly known as Jokowi, said the government owns about 180,000 hectares of land in the area. — DayakDaily