KUCHING, Sept 11: The Jiwa Murni road projects in Sarawak were implemented to provide connectivity to the rural populace, said Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing.
Taking the example of the 38km Menjawah-Belaga Road, Masing said if it was not implemented under Jiwa Murni, which was under the purview of the Ministry of Defence, the road would have cost a whopping RM500 million to implement.
“If Jiwa Murni road wasn’t built and JKR (Public Works Department) had to build it from jungle to track, this 38km road would have cost Sarawak government including the bailey bridge across Batang Belaga no less than RM500 million. Therefore, please don’t sneeze at Jiwa Murni roads contribution in providing rural connectivity in Sarawak,” Masing said in a statement issued here.
He added that the existing Jiwa Murni road which provided much-needed road connectivity for the people of Belaga to Bintulu had reduced the cost of upgrading by JKR.
“Thus, Jiwa Murni road did good to the rural population by initiating road connectivity. Please don’t demonise people who assisted our rural populace with roads,” said Masing.
Masing who is also Minister of Infrastructure and Port Development, stated that if the Jiwa Murni Road was not constructed, the people of Belaga would have remained isolated without road connectivity to the outside.
“The people of Belaga was left behind when Bakun HEP (hydroelectric power) Dam was built. No road was constructed from Bakun HEP to Belaga town, till we requested the Ministry of Defence to construct the Jiwa Murni Road connecting Bakun HEP to Belaga Town including a bailey bridge across Belaga River was built.
“(However), after a few years, the Jiwa Murni road was damaged by logging trucks, therefore when Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg visited Belaga in December 2017, we requested him to give us the fund to upgrade the road to JKR R1 modified standard,” Masing said.
The 34km Menjawah-Belaga Road upgrading project is expected soon. The total cost of the upgrading works on the road is RM120 million. — DayakDaily