Sarawak to improve accessibility from Tebedu

KUCHING: The state government is prepared to ensure accessibility from the Indonesian-Malaysian border in Tebedu to Kuching, said Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri James Jemut Masing yesterday.

He said good infrastructure is vital if Sarawak is to benefit from the relocation of Indonesia’s capital from Jakarta on the island of Java to the province of East Kalimantan on Borneo.

“There must be good accessibility in anticipation of what happens across the border from us. In five to six years’ time, the whole of Kalimantan will be filled with a lot of people,” he told New Sarawak Tribune when interviewed at a hotel here yesterday.

Masing, who is also Infrastructure and Ports Development Minister, predicted that millions of Indonesians would migrate to East Kalimantan in the coming years.

He said the spillover from the move would open up business opportunities to Sarawak.

“We must be prepared in terms of infrastructure and my Ministry is currently looking at that. We are also planning to improve the port facilities in Kuching,” he explained.

Commenting on Budget 2020 scheduled to be tabled tomorrow, the PRS president hoped that the state would be given more allocations for developing its infrastructure.

He believed that Putrajaya should not just give Sarawak its budget for the Pan-Borneo highway project, but would also provide allocations for other projects.

“Even though this is a new government, they should agree to what was proposed before,” said Masing, adding that the state and the previous federal government agreed that the funds given would exclude the existing allocation for the Pan-Borneo highway project.

On the scandal plaguing his party, PRS which was alleged to have been receiving money from 1MDB, Masing stressed that the matter had been settled.

“We have settled it. Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has met us back in July. Pelagus assemblyman Wilson Nyabong Ijang was tasked to settle with the commission.

“I hope there is not much of a problem. Our accounts were frozen before but after the discussion with MACC, the account is open again.”

Masing explained, “When the then prime minister (Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak) gave us money after we requested for funding, it was not my business to ask where the money came from.”