New road alignment catalyst for development

Datuk Seri Doris Sophia Brodie

KUCHING: The new alignment for the Sarawak-Sabah Link Road (SSLR) proposed by the Sarawak government will be a catalyst to develop the hinterland, rural and northern parts of Sarawak namely Limbang and Lawas; catering to both rural and urban development.

Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) Women chief Datuk Seri Doris Brodie said while Baru Bian, during his stint as Works Minister during Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) reign, had pursued the idea the initial SSLR alignment was not comprehensive enough as their proposal had bypassed Lawas and Limbang. 

“In my opinion, this initial SSLR alignment lacked planning without taking into consideration the socio-economic impact and growth.

“They instead proposed a new alignment for the SSLR (Kuala Melinau-Limbang-Lawas Road) where the first phase is from Pan Borneo Road branching at Kampung Gelugus junction in Lawas to Long Merarap right to Long Lopeng. The first phase, as I was made to understand, is approximately 77km with a scheme value of RM1.2billion.

“As for the second phase, it is from Long Merarap /Rumah Aling in Limbang to Rumah Pakatom right to Long Iman (inclusive of bridges) with a distance of approximately 180km costing not more than RM5 billion. With this SSLR alignment, there is no necessity to travel through the Brunei CIQS anymore,” she said today.

Regarding the fund for the said project where Baru had claimed that he had reallocated RM900 million to the SSLR project during his days as minister, Doris said perhaps he had done so, to which she gave him the benefit of the doubt. 

However, for Baru to substantiate his claim, Doris said she thought it is best for him to instead target his query to clarify his doubts concerning the status and whereabouts of the allocation to Putrajaya in view that the SSLR project is under the jurisdiction of the federal government.

“Considering that he was the Works Minister as well as being an MP and a fellow Sarawakian, I find it a little awkward that Baru did not seem to be committed to see this project through as he had not taken the initiative to at least ask and perhaps officially write to current Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz to inquire.

“In fact, based on his statement, his understanding on the status of this project is only based on what’s announced by the current Works Minister, Datuk Seri Fadillah sometime in August 2020. To YB Baru Bian, if there’s a will, there’s a way,” she said.

Additionally, she said the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) state government continues to be committed and shall strive to put in place the necessary infrastructure towards achieving its vision of becoming a developed state by 2030.

“This also includes fully funding the three bridges, namely in Batang Lupar, Batang Igan and Batang Rambungan costing approximately RM950 million which was cancelled during PH’s time when Baru was the Works Minister,” she added.