KUCHING, Jan 8: The Infrastructure Development and Transportation Ministry (MIDT) is embarking on the task to repair the Belaga-Menjawah Road.
Its minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing said he had instructed the state Public Works Department (JKR) to do the necessary repairs on the road by utilising the RM50 million allocated by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
“The first phase is to improve the first 17 kilometres from the Bakun junction to Belaga town. Then JKR will proceed until they reach Belaga town.
“This will include raising the bridge height by one metre to prevent it from being damaged by log jam as happened during the Christmas of 2017,” Masing told DayakDaily today.
On the sections where landslides have occurred, he said those stretches will be made good by Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd (CMS).
“The works are currently in progress,” added Masing, who is also Deputy Chief Minister.
He said this after chairing a meeting led by the ministry this morning where officers from relevant departments including JKR as well Land and Survey Department attended.
“I have just finished a meeting with MIDT, JKR, and Land and Survey on the government’s proposal of upgrading the Belaga-Menjawah Road,” he said.
Masing said if the allocated amount of RM50 million allocated was insufficient, the ministry will ask for more funds to complete the full rehabilitation of the road.
“This an excellent example that this government and Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) really care for the people.
“Realising our past errors, we are all willing to make good on what is needed by the people in the (rural) areas.
“This is also a solid example that the government is not just serving the industries and urban population who are currently beneficiaries of the power generated by the Bakun HEP Dam and the Murum HEP Dam,” said Masing.
Belaga used to be an isolated area, linked to other parts of Sarawak by river transport which means passing through multiple treacherous rapids.
Development in Belaga has opened following the building of Sungai Asap Resettlement Area and the Bakun HEP Dam where a road was built to link Sungai Asap or Bakun to Bintulu.
The Belaga-Menjawah Road which was built by the army under the Jiwa Murni Programme, further links Bakun to Belaga, providing another transport alternative to the people of Belaga who otherwise can only depend on river transport to reach the outside world.
Since the opening of the Belaga-Menjawah Road, most residents of Belaga district have switched to using land transport instead of river transport, which requires taking an express boat to Kapit first, before boarding another express boat to Belaga.
The Belaga-Menjawah Road however became treacherously dangerous to use when landslides occured and the road has been badly damaged by rain.
The fact that this is the only road connecting Belaga residents to the outside world, means it is heavily utitlised.
Due to much wear and tear as well as the lack of maintenance, there has been many complaints about the road of being muddy, dangerous and riddled with potholes. — DayakDaily