Deteriorating Ba’Kelalan – Long Semadoh road disappoints Baru

File picture showing the deteriorating condition of the road that links Ba'Kelalan and Long Semadoh to an appalling state, even four-wheel drives vehicles have difficulty negotiating. -

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LIMBANG: Ba’Kelalan State Assemblyman Baru Bian has expressed his utter disappointment that the Ba’Kelalan-Long Semadoh road has deteriorated to such an appalling state.

He said some parts of the road are now just muddy tracks, which even 4-wheel drives have difficulty negotiating.

“These vehicles get bogged in the mud and have to be pulled out with ropes,” Baru, who has just returned from Ba’Kelalan, said today.

Baru, who is also PKR Sarawak chairman, the Ba’Kelalan-Long Semadoh road was built by the Malaysian Armed Forces under the Jiwa Murni project with the so-called “Probest” technology.

He claimed that the road was built at some speed but without any provision for quality and durability.

He said the Auditor General in his Report 2016 had commented that the quality of work on the road was less satisfactory.

“Road shoulders and drains were not built. There were potholes, uneven and muddy road surfaces while road maintenance was less satisfactory.

“Besides faded road lines, there were untrimmed wild plants and grasses along road shoulders. Safety of the roads built were less satisfactory as they were steep and winding, with no slope protection,” Baru quoted the AG Report as commenting on the road.

He said in last year’s June sitting of the State Assembly, Minister of Infrastructure Development and Transportation Tan Sri Dr James Masing had defended the Jiwa Murni projects, saying that the Jiwa Murni project roads were designed to lower specs and lower safety features, and to fit in with the required timeframe and limited amount of funds available.

He said the minister had pointed out that the Jiwa Murni roads cost an average of RM2 mil per km compared to RM5mil for a minor road at villages classified as R1 road.

“Given that the Jiwa Murni roads have not lasted very long, it would appear that the government has been penny wise but pound foolish in the decision to allow the roads to be built in this manner by the Army.

” Once the roads are handed over, the Public Works Department (JKR) is responsible for the maintenance but we are constantly being told that there are limited or no funds for repairs,” he said.

He said the then Minister of Infrastructure Development Datuk Seri Michael Manyin had said in the December 2015 in the State Assembly that there was no real allocation given to the state government from the federal government.

Baru said the current federal Works Minister Datuk Fadillah Yusof is a Sarawakian and he should act on Manyin’s claim.

“Sarawak’s resources have been used to develop Malaya while our people put up with substandard facilities and infrastructure,” he said, urging Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Abang Openg to press on with the state’s demand for higher oil royalties and to reclaim all the revenue that should rightly belong to Sarawak that is now being paid into the federal funds.

Baru also questioned why the state government wants to build the Light Railway Transit when it cannot event provide proper roads for the rural people.

“Rural folks have the same rights and entitlements as urban folks to proper functioning basic facilities and roads are one such facility,” he said, pointing out that without proper road connectivity, people are cut-off from major towns. –