KUCHING, Sept 5: If the Pan Borneo Highway project connects Sarawak and Sabah by bypassing Brunei, it will catapult economic growth and alter the landscape of the state’s northern region.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing is on the same page as Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on this matter. The prime minister announced on Monday that this highway project would not cut into the neighbouring country.
The Malaysia and Brunei governments recently agreed in principle on this arrangement, which was based on factors including cost and immigration issues.
Masing, who is also Minister of Infrastructure Development and Transportation, opined that the proposed new routes would transform the economic makeup of places such as Marudi, Limbang and Lawas.
This would benefit the people in the long run, he added.
“I agree with Tun Dr Mahathir that the Pan Borneo (highway) should bypass Brunei. The route should originate from Marudi town to Long Terawan, then hugging Mulu National Park along the border with Brunei and straight to Hulu Sg Limbang and Hulu Sg Trusan.
“From there, the route would lead to Lawas town before connecting with the Sabah border,” he said in a statement.
Masing pointed out that the route would open up the upper reaches of Sg Limbang and Sg Trusan in Lawas, too.
“The highway will truly benefit the people who reside in the interior of Sarawak’s northern region. The distance is approximately 250km, with cost around RM3.5 billion.
“We hope the federal government will allocate funds to begin this part of the project as soon as possible,” he continued.
Dr Mahathir and Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah reached this agreement during a meeting that took place at the Istana Nurul Iman in conjunction with the former’s official visit to Brunei.
The decision was also made to simplify travel and save time, as it would not be necessary to undergo immigration checks.
Dr Mahathir said the government is studying alternative routes for the highway project, which is long awaited by the people of Sabah-Sarawak to generate development in both states. — DayakDaily