KUCHING, Oct 17: The federal government should chip in half of the RM1 billion budget to build the 5.1km Batang Lupar Bridge.
The funding would enable the state divert its own budget into providing more infrastructures to the people across Sarawak, said Batang Lupar MP Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim.
She pointed that the bridge should be built by the federal government who have agreed (under the previous Barisan Nasional regime) and approved the 50 per cent financing for the purpose.
Furthermore, infrastructure development was part of the agreement when Malaysia was form in 1963, she continued.
“Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg have announced in the State Budget 2019 that the 5.1 kilometre bridge crossing the Batang Lupar river to be built by the state government.
“For that, I urged the 50 per cent allocation cost from the Batang Lupar Bridge construction will be paid soon so that the Sarawak government can continue its infrastructure development along the coastal road network and the second trunk road,” Rohani said when debating Budget 2020 in the Dewan Rakyat.
She reminded Putrajaya that the bridge project was one of the mega project promises that provides connection across Sarawak. Ever since Pakatan Harapan took over Putrajaya following GE14 in May last year, the national Budget 2019 and Budget 2020 have not fulfilled the obligation.
“For that, I urge the 50 per cent allocation for construction of the Batang Lupar bridge be paid as soon as possible, so that the Sarawak government can continue to provide the needed infrastructure for the people.”
Spanning 5km across the Batang Lupar river, the bridge is set to become the longest to cross a river in the country.
On another note, Rohani said the paddy field scheme in Batang Lupar has the potential to reduce the country’s reliability to import rice from other countries.
She said with its 5,100 hectares of paddy field, the scheme has achieved the self-sufficiency level (SSL) of about 30 per cent in Sarawak.
“This mean that Malaysia would not need to import rice from outside and instead, there is even a possibility of exporting it to other countries,” she said.
She added that at the moment, the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry is actively developing the agricultural infrastructure projects, such as building, upgrading and maintaining the irrigation and drainage infrastructure in the area.
Rohani expressed hope that the project will continue and the development is accelerated to ensure it would provide prosperity to the villagers in the Stumbin, Bijat, Gran, Entulang, Seduku and Lingga-Banting area. — DayakDaily