Lassa, Paloh bridge projects to commence this Sept — Abg Jo

Abang Johari (standing front row, third right) taking a group photo with the participants and other dignitaries as well as elected representatives of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) at the townhall session.

Follow and subscribe to DayakDaily on Telegram for faster news updates.

By Lian Cheng

SARIKEI, Aug 30: Chief Minister Abang Johari Tun Openg has announced that Lassa Bridge and Paloh Bridge projects will commence this September.

Apart from the two bridges, he hoped that Sarawak government could begin construction of the Batang Igan Bridge next year.

“Next week, we will commence building Lassa Bridge. Batang Lassa is now using ferry. We will build a bridge to connect Daro and Bruit (Pulau Bruit), which then, would be connected to Paloh.

“From Paloh, we will be connected to Tanjung Manis and from Tanjung Manis, to Sarikei,” said Abang Johari at the townhall session “Berambeh Ngan Abang Jo” here, today.

To successfully develop Sarikei and Bintangor into a “Food Basket”, road connection is a necessity, he added.

“Because of that, we need the roads to connect all these areas that have potential in agriculture. That is why when that side (federal government) was so keen to cancel the project, this side (Sarawak government) is ready to pick up bridge building projects,” said Abang Johari.

Abang Johari said Lassa Bridge will be the second longest bridge after Batang Lupar Bridge.

“You know how much is the cost? It is almost RM600 million. Kuala Lumpur (federal government) cancelled our bridge project. They cancelled, we build. Then next month, we will start the bridge connecting Lassa and Paloh.

“Hopefully, next year, we will start building Batang Igan Bridge,” he said.

Abang Johari, when asked on the possibility that Sarawak will go bankrupt within three years, again described Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng as “paloi” (stupid in Iban language) for the latter’s previous remark that Sarawak will exhaust its reserves after three years.

Lim had rationalised that Sarawak has a reserve of RM30 billion and based on the 2018 Budget, in which Sarawak’s expenditure was RM11 billion, he predicted that Sarawak will become bankrupt within three years.

Abang Johari explained that out of Sarawak 2018 Budget of RM 11 billion, RM9 billion is for development and out of the RM9 billion, RM7 billion is for rural development.

He pointed out that Sarawak not only has expenditure, it also has income such as tax collected from oil and gas.

“In our constitution, we have the rights to impose tax on our export commodities. In fact, this year, we have a surplus of RM137 million. It is a surplus budget.”

Abang Johari also revealed that Sarawak has not only been collecting an additional RM3 billion from taxation from oil and gas, Sarawak is also going to expand her revenue source.

“Don’t worry. We won’t go bankrupt. Actually, we will be richer,” predicted Abang Johari, without explaining further what is the state’s new source of income. — DayakDaily