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KUCHING, Oct 25: Sarawak government will construct a border security road network starting from Biawak all the way to Lawas town at an estimated cost of RM24 billion.
According to Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing, the road network is vital in providing local connectivity and international access.
“With the announcement of the Indonesian capital relocation to East Kalimantan by 2024, it is timely for Sarawak to construct the security road network along the Sarawak-Kalimantan border, starting from Biawak to Serikin and Engkilili passing through Lubok Antu, Long Silat, Long Banga, Bario, Ba’Kelalan, Long Semado, Long Sukang and end in Lawas town.
“The border security road network programme hopes to not only provide connectivity to the highland region along the border of Sarawak and Kalimantan but to allow access for our rich national parks and wildlife sanctuaries to be experienced by nature enthusiasts,” he said in a statement.
Masing, who is also Infrastructure and Ports Development Minister, was briefed on the Border Security Road Network Programme by the state Public Works Department assistant director (Corporate Planning Branch) Norman Jan yesterday.
“With a total border road length of an estimated 1,032km and feeder road of 610km, the grand total programme cost is estimated to be RM24 billion with implementation from 2020 to 2030 and beyond,” said Masing.
He added that the priority selection criteria for this programme is based on the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) strategic thrusts.
“It will also help safeguard our territory, as well as protecting our multi-billion ringgit assets especially the Sabah-Sarawak Gas Pipeline (SSGP) and the four hydroelectric power (HEP) dams, which are situated close to our international border.”
The scope of works of the proposal comprises the upgrading of 518km of existing R1 gravel road to JKR R3 standard tar-sealed road, construction of 1,124km new JKR R3 standard tar-sealed road and other ancillary works, which include earthworks consisting of filled embankment and cut slopes.
This included construction of road pavement, ground treatment works, construction of RC bridges across existing streams, construction of culverts and drains, temporary diversion works, slope protection and erosion control measures, and other miscellaneous works like road signage and markings.
Masing said an in-depth study on the proposed border road network shall be carried out with priority given to four sections, namely Baleh Section and Feeder Road, Engkilili/Lubok Antu & Batang Ai Section, Tebedu Access Road R5 Upgrading, as well as Baram Section and Tinjar Feeder Road.
A mini lab was conducted on Wednesday (Oct 23), which discussed on matters related to developing the proposed border security road network.
The session was attended by members from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Port Development (MIPD), the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) Sarawak, Majlis Keselamatan Negara, Immigration Department, Customs Department, Resident and District Offices, Sarawak Energy Bhd, Forest Department and Public Works engineers.
The lab raised several input to formulate the way forward for the project such as the State Socio-Economic Transformation Plan (2016-2030), the 12MP Strategic Thrusts and connecting the rural communities, tourism assets, existing border entry points and border security areas. — DayakDaily