By Lian Cheng and Ashley Sim
KUCHING, Nov 2: Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg is dedicating one road in the Central Region to experiment on the use of rubber in road building on peat soil in view that the area has large stretches of the soil type.
The idea came to him when he noticed that there was a research paper on the topic when gracing the opening of the Research and Development Symposium 2022 organised by the Sarawak Research and Development Council (SRDC) at a local hotel here today.
Apart from SRDC, he also threw the challenge to Sarawak Works Department (Sarawak JKR), that the two may work together to experiment with the new method.
“One area I would like the symposium to look at is the problem of our peat soil, in particular the construction of roads on peat soil.
“I noticed there is a paper using rubber, and that rubber (to be used) as part of the material to strengthen the road base, to continue with the construction of the road on peat soil.
“I would suggest that this proposal to be looked at seriously with JKR, and I would like to have one road as part of this research, using this material (rubber) in the peat area. I will fund that road,” said Abang Johari.
He hoped that through the experiment, it can be ascertained whether the idea may be effective. If it is feasible, it will be a breakthrough for Sarawak which consists of large stretches of peatland, especially in the Central Region.
Malaysia is estimated to have 2.6 million hectares of peat soil and 70 per cent or 1.6 million are found in Sarawak, where 70 per cent of Sarawak’s peatland is found in Sibu.
As Sibu is sitting on peatland, roads in Sibu tend to undulate after some time after construction is completed.
This had led to Abang Johari describing the bumpy journey from the Sibu Airport to Sibu town as a “landas” (monsoon) trip.
“If you go to Sibu between the (Sibu) Airport and Sibu town, it is just like ‘landas’ in the car. We maintain it, we pour another layer of bitumen. After a few years, it comes back, the landas comes again.
Abang Johari said if the experiment is successful, it will be a solution to Sarawak’s peat soil issue. The solution will change the whole landscape of road construction on peat soil, especially the Central Region.
The road to be identified will be in areas between Sibu to Mukah, as this is the stretch with most peatland concentration.
“We will delicate one road as part of our applied technology, to use this (the new method) on our construction of road,” said Abang Johari. — DayakDaily