By Karen Bong
KUCHING, May 19: The grant of RM27,500 under Malaysian Road Records Information System (Marris) for the maintenance of every kilometre of state and federal roads is barely enough to patch up potholes.
Batu Kitang assemblyman Lo Khere Chiang, in raising this issue, is urging the federal government to review this policy and increase the amount of allocation to be in tandem with the changing times.
“Marris funds have been allocated to council on the basis of RM27,500 per km to maintain roads and road infrastructures including kerbs, drains, footpaths, road verges and road line paintings.
“RM27,500 a kilometre, approved 50 years ago, is way too little. Material costs have gone up 200 times since then,” he told the august House when debating the Yang di-Pertuan Negeri Sarawak’s address in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) today.
Lo told the august House that it would cost the council approximately RM400,000 to tarseal one kilometre of road with four-inch thick premix.
“That’s why many of our housing estate roads are in dire need of resurfacing, and our drains, kerbs and footpaths are in dire need of reconstruction,” he said.
Another problem, he added, was that the grant cannot be used to repair back lanes of housing estates which has caused much unhappiness and disgruntlement among residents who do not understand why the council was unable to maintain these back lanes which over the last 30 years have become broken, smelly and clogged.
“I strongly urge the federal government to remove this silly policy to allow us to do what should be done urgently.
“That’s why we strongly believe that the RM80 billion siphoned by Malaya annually should be returned to Sarawak so that we can build and enjoy similar quality roads and infrastructure as they are in Malaya,” he added. — DayakDaily