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By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, May 17: The proposed Second Trunk Road will provide vital connecting between Simanggang and Betong as currently there is no road connectivity between the two major towns, said Pelagus Assemblyman Wilson Nyabong Ijang.
He also stressed that the Second Trunk Road was necessary as it would not only provide the necessary connectivity but it would also open up huge hinterland which has not been developed.
“The Second Trunk Road caters for rural areas. The two sectors of the Second Trunk Road consisted of two sectors, namely one which stretches from Sebuyau to Roban via Saratok hinterland then joining Pan Borneo highway with a total distance of 65.13km.
“And the second stretch will link Sebuyau passing through Lingga – Sri Aman – Betong and then it will join Pan Borneo highway with a total distance of 142 km,” Nyabong said here today.
The Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) supreme council member pointed out that the Second Trunk Road will create accessibility to rural areas which currently were not link by road.
“This becomes the enabler for utilities like electricity and water to be connected to rural longhouses and settlements. It will complement Pan Borneo highway and the coastal road which hugs the coast of Sarawak.
“And about 60 per cent of Sarawak’s population reside within and benefit from the construction of these infrastructures. Therefore, to assume the construction of these infrastructure is irrelevant is incorrect and naïve,” said Nyabong.
He was rebutting former PRS deputy President, Datuk Joseph Entulu Belaun who has since joined Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB), for criticising that RM6 billion should not be used for the Second Trunk Road but instead be utilised for providing clean water, electricity, telephone services, internet connection, access roads and healthcare facilities in the rural areas.
Nyobong also criticised Entulu, who was a former Selangau MP and former Federal minister for being out of touch with Sarawak’s development and needs.
“He (Entulu) has been an MP since 2004. So he doesn’t know the needs of the people on the ground and the rationale why GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) Government planned to build such a project,” said Nyabong.
Nyabong pointed out without proper road network connecting major towns and settlement in Sarawak, socio-economic development would be limited.
“Let’s look at Malaya, the area about the size of Sarawak, is criss-crossed by two North- South highways, East-West Highway and East Coast Real Link (ECRL) and many subsidiary roads connecting to various towns and settlements in Malaya. Are these roads irrelevant?
“We are now asking why Malaya is so much developed than Sarawak, yet when plans are proposed to build these infrastructure, our politicians question the wisdom of such proposals.
“I suggest to them and those oppose to GPS government, please don’t oppose what is good for Sarawak just for the sake of opposing. If u are running out of ideas or things to say, just keep quiet,” said Nyabong.
He also reiterated that the GSP government has set aside RM5 billion for water and electricity supplies to the rural areas.
“The Sarawak government has set aside RM2.8 billion for water supplies and RM2.2 billion for electricity supplies for the rural areas which is expected to be completed by 2025.
“So to suggest that we should use the RM6 billion meant for the Second Trunk Road for the implementation of these amenities for rural areas should not arise as all these have been planned properly by the GPS State Government,” added Nyabong.
On the proposed Border Security Road, he stressed that Sarawak needs such infrastructure to ensure that it could provide better accessibility not only for national security along the border but also it would provide vital links for people living there.
“Without the proposed Border Security Road, the people living in the rural areas will not have road accessibility at all,” he asserted.
He added that with Indonesia’s decision to move its capital from Jakarta to East Kalimantan by 2024, the decision to construct the border security road is now an urgent and crucial matter. – DayakDaily