KUCHING: The Pan Borneo Highway maintenance project should be returned to the Public Works Department (JKR) to prevent more tragedies, said Bintulu MP Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing.
He said the Pan Borneo Highway is still plagued by uneven surfaces and littered with unsafe construction practices.
He pointed out that the current party responsible for the maintenance works does a dangerously poor job, and it is better for the entire maintenance project to be handed back to JKR.
He noted that the inconvenience has caused road accidents where lives were lost due to preventable human negligence.
“Many road sections are full of potholes, and signages and warning lights are non-existent. Is LBU (Lebuhraya Borneo Utara Sdn Bhd) totally unaware of the state of the highway?
“Any potholes that appear must be repaired immediately and what’s worse is that safety precautions are not in place. The situation today is worse than before, when JKR took over.
“I personally drove from Bintulu to Sibu on Saturday (June 12) and the entire highway is a mess in which drivers are being put at risk unnecessarily,” he said.
He added that road users who are not familiar with the potholes and caved-in sections could easily be affected by these hazards and ram into a road divider if the conditions are not fixed.
On the recent car accident which took the life of a 63-year-old vegetable seller who lost control of her car and crashed into roadside cones at Jalan Sibu-Bintulu, Tiong said that it is only the tip of an iceberg of potential tragedies on the highway.
He noted that LBU should not be allowed to continue with its risky job and the maintenance and repair works must be handed back to JKR immediately.
“Thus, I denounce LBU once again for performing sub-standard maintenance and repairs of the Pan Borneo Highway. The exorbitant cost of their contract is simply not reflected in the quality of the highway as in fact, the conditions there are worse than ever.
“Where is the company’s conscience? Are they willing to allow more deaths to occur before doing something? The federal Minister of Works must personally make the inspections, do not use a helicopter — he must experience every single bump on the drive itself then he would know the true picture,” he said.
He also urged all the relevant authorities to review the contract immediately as too many chances have been given to LBU but with no results.
“At the very least, JKR will receive and act on public feedback and complaints. Continuing with LBU is a wasteful mistake as well as a costly and hazardous one.
“Act now on their indifference to the contract and return the maintenance to the public authority or more people will die,” he said.