KUCHING: Media practitioners are the Works Ministry’s (KKR) liaison to disseminate information on the direction and development of the country’s infrastructure to the people.

Works Minister Baru Bian said, “KKR along with its agencies have mobilised their expertise and energy to ensure that technological, innovation and human capital development is a priority in the ministry’s development agenda.

“The mass media plays a very important role in delivering the benefits of every project to the people especially, on the modernisation of the rapidly expanding infrastructure industry.”

He expressed his gratitude to media practitioners from across Sarawak when attending KKR Media Appreciation Night and CIDB Construction Media Awards at Pullman Hotel here last Friday.

Baru Bian hands over the first prize to Ramidi Subari of New Sarawak Tribune who won in the photograph category with his submission “Brave Or Just Careless” which awarded him RM5,000.

The annual event marks the fifth year of the Media Appreciation Night and CIDB Awards as well as Baru’s second engagement with the event.

Ramidi is jubilant with his win.

“This media night is the first in a series of similar programmes to follow in Sabah and Kuala Lumpur.

“It is organised in honour of all the goodwill in providing coverage and publicity to KKR and agencies under the ministry.

“The media has always been regarded as the Works Ministry’s strategic partner even more so, as long-term strategic partners,” he said.

Baru hoped that the good relationship between them (media and KKR) would continue to be strong and that they would be able to help share important information with the public regarding the KKR initiatives, in line with its motto ‘Towards the Wellbeing of the People’.

On the 2020 Federal Budget’s development expenditure for Sarawak and Sabah, he remarked that both states were given the highest allocation of RM4.4 billion and RM5.2 billion respectively.

Baru mentioned that to ensure infrastructure development remained as the catalyst for economic growth, the government was committed to completing the Pan Borneo Highway project.

“The process of rationalising the cost of the project has so far saved us RM1.2 billion by reducing the project cost to RM29 billion.

“Through such savings, the budget can be channelled to other projects to drive economic growth in Sarawak and Sabah such as the construction of the 165km Trans Borneo Highway connecting Sarawak and Sabah to East Kalimantan, Indonesia,” he said.

Among the key components of the project are a RM600 million package for the 40km Kalabakan-Serudong Road in Tawau and the construction of Customs, Immigration, Quarantine and Security Complex (CIQS) and government housing quarters.