Tamin rep says unwise to delay building second trunk road

KUCHING, August 26: There should not be any delay in constructing the proposed second trunk road as the cost would spiral in the future, cautioned Tamin assemblyman Christopher Gira.

When contacted yesterday, this qualified civil and structural engineer said he was perplexed why Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How, who was recently appointed a special officer to the Works Ministry, was against this project but showed keen interest on the proposed coastal highway project.

“Our people have waited long enough for basic connectivity. Peat should also not be used as an issue as building over peat soil in Sarawak is something that we can’t avoid. In fact, the issue of transparency has also been ironed out via open tenders.

“So why wait? Why go against the project that will bring much development for Sarawak?” asked Gira.

Two days ago, See, who is also state PKR vice chairman, accused Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing of breaching his privilege in the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) regarding the proposed second trunk road project.

See said he intended to lodge a complaint with the DUN Speaker and refer Masing to the Committee of Privileges in the next sitting (this November) on what he deemed as “confusing and untruthful” information regarding the project.

He alleged Masing, who is also Infrastructure Development and Transportation Minister, had furnished a map that showed discrepancies in the scope of works.

Gira pointed out that the map that Masing traced and coloured in orange were parts of the second trunk road that could be used when driving from Kota Samarahan to Sibu, once completed.

Comparison of total km of road from Kota Samarahan to Sibu. Coastal Road route is denoted in green while Second Trunk Road is in orange and Pan Borneo Highway is in blue.

“He forgot that the original explanation by Masing was about See’s accusation that the second trunk road will not result in ‘savings on travelling time’ from Kota Samarahan to Sibu.

“Any logical mind will see that the distance between a straighter line (as illustrated in the map) from point A to Point B is shorter in comparison with a meandering one,” Gira continued.

He explained that the purpose of the map sketch was to show that See was flawed in his evaluation, as Masing did not sketch out any other roads.

“The issue at hand is the distance, not other issues. Sarawakians can judge for themselves which route is shorter,” he added.

Gira also questioned See’s timing on raising the issue to scrap the second trunk road project after being appointed a special officer to the Works Ministry.

“Maybe he was speaking on behalf of his minister (Baru Bian, who is Ba’Kelalan assemblyman and Selangau MP), but I really doubt it because as a rural boy, Baru has fought very hard for rural development. Look at how he fought for Ba’Kelalan road to be upgraded,” he said. — DayakDaily