KUCHING, Aug 7 — The federal government will proceed with the construction of the Sarawak-Sabah Link Road (SSLR) Phase Two project that will connect Miri to Limbang and Lawas, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said today.
He said the construction work of the phase two project, without going through Brunei, is expected to commence early next year.
“The phase two project from Simpang Gelugus to Long Lopeng in Lawas, will connect Mulu to Long Merarap for a distance of 326km at a cost of RM7.68 billion,” the prime minister said at the closing of the state-level Jelajah Aspirasi Keluarga Malaysia event here.
He said the federal government will also upgrade the existing road network between Miri to Limbang and Lawas via Brunei under the Trans Borneo Highway Project (LTB).
He said the upgrading works involving a stretch of 96.351 kilometres is to be completed in a three-year period at a total cost of RM2.93 billion.
He said this will be a catalyst for the local socio-economic development as the Pan Borneo Highway has started to have a positive impact and economic spill-over for the people who do business at Pasar Tamu Simpang Bekenu.
He added the Pan Borneo Highway Project, costing RM16.1 billion, that was launched in March 2015, is now at 85 percent and is expected to be completed fully in the first quarter of next year.
The prime minister stressed that the federal government will continue to prioritise development in Sarawak and this is proven by the development expenditure allocation of RM4.55 billion for this year under the Second Rolling Plan (RP2) of the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP)
In addition, he said an allocation of RM5.77 billion has been provided under the 12MP to develop and upgrade schools and educational institutions in the state.
“Of the 409 new and extension projects, 111 projects have been fully completed, 109 projects are in the implementation or construction stage and 189 projects are in pre-construction status,” he said.
Ismail Sabri also said an allocation of RM2.16 billion was also provided to upgrade and rehabilitate 361 school buildings.
“A total of 203 of these projects have been completed, 68 projects are in the construction stage while the rest are in the pre-construction stage,” he added.
On the health sector, he said a total of six hospital and clinic construction projects were implemented in the state, involving additional buildings, medical equipment and quarters.
He said the Sri Aman Hospital has been completed while five more projects involving a cost of RM695.5 million in Miri, Mukah, Kuching and Serian, are expected to be completed next year.
He said the Ministry of Rural Development has also provided an allocation of RM13.4 billion for infrastructure development to ensure the comfort and well-being of the people in the state.
“At the same time, both the federal and state governments are also committed in providing broadband (internet) facilities to the people in the state through the National Digital Interconnection Programme (JENDELA).
“For this purpose, the government has allocated a sum of RM4.09 billion under the 12MP to ensure comprehensive broadband access in Sarawak by 2030,” he said.
He said this is one of the initiatives for the people of this state, adding that the government hopes that after this there will be no more people who have to climb trees or camp on hills just to find internet coverage.
The prime minister also said under the 12MP, the federal government has set a target of zero extreme poverty by the end of 2025 through the extreme poverty eradication programme which also involves Sarawak.
He said the first phase of the programme in Sarawak covers Gedong, Kampung Seberang Sebuyau, Kampung Spaoh and Pakan.
The prime minister said a total of 867,967 families in the state have received benefits through the Bantuan Keluarga Malaysian (BKM) initiative involving an allocation of RM745 million.