By Geryl Ogilvy
KUCHING, Nov 8: Sarawak has requested RM400 million from Putrajaya for the building of the RM1 billion Batang Lupar bridge.
Assistant Minister for Coastal Road Datuk Julaihi Narawi said the state made the request during a briefing between the federal and state Public Works Department on Tuesday (Nov 6, 2018).
According to the Sebuyau assemblyman, Works Minister Baru Bian had given a positive response to the request, which could be channelled under the 12th Malaysia Plan.
“Initially, the Batang Lupar Bridge project was approved by the previous government under a 50-50 shared funding between the federal and state governments.
“However, the project was postponed by Putrajaya (Pakatan Harapan or PH government), in a letter issued by the Public Works Department dated Aug 24, 2018. We hope the federal government would consider our request,” Julaihi said during the question-and-answer time at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting here today.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, when tabling the State Budget 2019 on Nov 5, announced that the state government would fund the entire RM1 billion cost to build the 5.1km bridge, which would take six years to complete.
The project scope includes a 5.7km road access at both ends of the bridge at Kampung Sebuyau and Kampung Triso.
However, Julaihi said the state harboured hope that Baru would be able to persuade the PH government to respect the agreement of its predecessor to fund the project to improve rural connectivity and spur economic growth.
“Despite the state announcing that it would allocate funds to build the bridge, we hope the federal government would agree to our RM400 million request, which can be a reimbursement to the state,” he said.
Julaihi was responding to a question raised by Razaili Gapor (PBB-Beting Maro) on the status of the Batang Lupar, Batang Saribas and Sg Krian bridge projects to complete the state coastal road passing Sebuyau-Beladin, Pusa and Sesang.
He added that the state government had approved the Batang Saribas and Sg Krian bridge projects, to be funded completely through its Coastal Connectivity Programme.
The projects will be tendered at the end of the year, with construction projected to commence in the first quarter of 2019.
The Batang Saribas Bridge, estimated to cost RM495.6 million, would take some 48 months to complete. The Sg Krian Bridge, with an estimated cost of RM174 million, is expected to be completed within 36 months.
Julaihi also responded to Dennis Ngau (PBB-Telang Usan), who asked about the progress of the Long Lama Bridge project and the implementation of the Marudi Bridge project,
He said the Long Lama Bridge over Batang Baram is currently at 87.6 per cent completion against the scheduled 90.2 per cent. The RM67 million bridge is targeted to be opened to the public in April 2019.
On the Marudi Bridge, he said the project approved during the chief minister’s walkabout had been tendered on Nov 3. Construction is scheduled to commence in the first quarter of 2019 and projected to take 36 months to complete. — DayakDaily