Sarawakians urged to reject calls to cancel STR

Datu Len Talif Salleh - file pic

KUCHING, May 19: Sarawakians have been urged to reject PSB leaders whose key messages in recent weeks seem to indicate that the Second Trunk Road (STR) will be cancelled if they form the state government.

Making this call to all Sarawakians, Assistant Minister of Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Datu Len Talif Salleh criticised PSB’s stand as being similar to that of the previous Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.

“This is very similar to what the previous PH government did, to cancel projects in Sarawak, and in turn forced the GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) government to meet the needs of the people of Sarawak by implementing a number of projects.

“For this reason, I urge all Sarawakians to reject these people as our leaders (Parti Sarawak Bersatu or PSB),” he emphasised in a statement today.

Defending the STR, Len Talif pointed out that PSB member Datuk Joseph Entulu should have referred to his party’s president Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh, who was among the state’s leaders who made the decision to build the STR.

“Unless he (Wong) has forgotten, he will tell Entulu that STR is actually a component of GPS’ (Gabungan Parti Sarawak’s) master plan on infrastructure development to be the catalyst for Sarawak’s economic growth that will benefit all races across the state and bridge the socio-economic gap between the urban and rural populations.

“In short, STR is not a project that was created without research on the comprehensive benefits, or a project that is born without concrete objectives,” he added.

Len Talif, who is also Kuala Rajang assemblyman, was responding to Entulu’s views that the state government should focus on providing clean water supply, electricity and Internet connectivity rather than using development funds to build the STR which is deemed ‘surplus’ considering the ongoing construction of the coastal link road.

“The STR will serve as an alternative road to provide uninterrupted travel if (either) the Pan Borneo Expressway and the Coastal Road Network is severely damaged, which is common during monsoon season,” he elaborated.

The project, he continued, is part of Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg’s greater vision coupled with his courage to invest in Sarawak’s future to pave the way for future Sarawakian generations to compete on a more competitive global stage in the future.

Len Talif revealed that the GPS government has put together seven projects worth about RM26.9 billion for Sarawak.

They are the Coastal Road Network valued at RM5 billion, STR (RM6 billion), Sarawak Water Supply Grid Programme (RM4 billion), Rural Electricity Supply (RM2.4 billion), Rural Transformation Project (RM2 billion), Infrastructure Development and Facilities Project Under URDA, HDA, NRDA and IRSDA (RM6 billion) and Digital Infrastructure (RM1.5 billion).

“At a glance and we see that this master plan is comprehensive in scope and applications, benefitting all Sarawakians.

“If Entulu says this is going to put Sarawak’s finances at risk, let me remind him and his colleagues that these projects will be implemented over several years in line with our income stream and reserves.

“If he thinks that these projects should be postponed for whatever reasons, experience tells us that the projects will become more expensive (if delayed),” he added.

As an assistant minister and a Pan Borneo road user for 40 years and coastal road user for 15 years as well as someone who grew up in the countryside, Len Talif reassured Entulu and his PSB colleagues that the well-being of rural people will never be neglected.

“I hope he (Entulu) and his friends are happy now or at least have better understanding now that GPS government addresses all issues related to water supply, electricity, communication network and the Internet as well as rural healthcare facilities,” he added. — DayakDaily