SIBU, August 13: The Sarawak government today hands over a total of 199 compensation cheques amounting to RM5,243,178.80 to 160 landowners whose land has been acquired for the building of the Second Trunk Road.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said the payment of land compensation proved that the government did not seize the people’s land as claimed by certain quarters.
“The government pays fair and reasonable compensation to landowners when the land acquisition is done in accordance with the existing provisions in the State Land Code (Chapter 81) and Article 13 of the Federal Constitution,” said Awang Tengah at the presentation of compensation to the affected land owners today.
He said the government’s efforts to fast track development in rural areas is in line with the intention to make Sarawak a developed state in the future, he said.
“Thus, the issue that says this payment is detrimental to landowners; the government seizes land; repossession of land without notice and without payment of compensation as claimed by some parties did not arise at all because the government’s purpose is to implement development and to provide public facilities for the people,” said Awang Tengah.
On the Second Trunk Road, he said it is expected to shorten traveling time and distance for travel between Kuching and Simanggang, Betong and Sibu.
He said the road project will include the upgrading of Jalan Kelupu-Jalan Tanjung Genting-Jambatan Lanang, Sibu from two lanes to four lanes.
“This Second Trunk Road Project serves as a catalyst to open new development areas and provide access to ports and airports for the export market. At the same time, it is a catalyst for the development of rural Sarawak,” said Awang Tengah.
The Bukit Sari assemblyman also explained that the road will link the Coastal Highway and the Pan Borneo Highway.
“It would close the income gap between the urban and rural population as well as reduce poverty. Projects like this will clearly benefit the people, especially in the affected areas,” he said. — DayakDaily