By Adrian Lim
KUCHING, May 17: Datuk Joseph Entulu Belaun believed the state government ruled by Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) should be practical in channelling its budget to good use.
Entulu, who is a member of Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB), believed the state government should instead focus on providing clean water supply, electricity and Internet connectivity rather than using the development funds to build the Second Trunk Road (STR) project which is deemed ‘surplus’ as the state government is also constructing the Coastal Link road.
“PSB Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) representatives, party leaders and members who regularly travel these stretches of roads have noted that while having better road infrastructure is good, it would be even better for the rural communities to have clean water, electricity, internet and school facilities which are lacking even up until today.
“Further to that, as the alignment runs through peat land which the (Sarawak) Government has undertaken not to develop, why is this even a consideration?,” he said in a statement yesterday.
He said to sum it up, STR was no longer a matter of crucial connections but rather a luxury to construct certain connections to allow for marginal convenience to some.
“A luxury we cannot afford especially now when people are starved of sustainable income, affordable housing, quality education and necessary needs for survival,” said Entulu who has been selected by PSB to contest in the Tamin constituency in the upcoming state election.
Entulu was responding to Assistant Minister of Urban Development and Resources Datuk Len Talif Salleh who called PSB “irresponsible” for calling the state government to stop the STR project which is estimated to cost RM6 billion.
He observed that there are two highway projects which are the Coastal Highway and the Pan Borneo Highway Sarawak which serves the same purpose as STR.
As such, he argued that constructing STR is redundant and a waste of money by the state government.
Entulu, who is former Selangau MP, believed if Sarawak has a large budget, mega infrastructure projects such as Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), telecommunication infrastructure that provides greater speeds than in the Silicon Valley in the United States could have been built.
Entulu stressed that PSB’s main point was calling on the state government to look at the practicality of the situation, especially during this time of economic constraints.
“With the recent Covid-19 impact as well as our limited reserve built up painstakingly throughout the years, this is not the time to splurge on luxuries which the STR project definitely is,” he claimed. – DayakDaily