KOTA KINABALU: Perikatan Nasional (PN) government needs to expedite the implementation of the Pan Borneo Highway in Sabah and get the project back on track.
Deputy Finance Minister 1 Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri said there had been a delay in the execution of the awarded 11 packages, which had physically progressed to a completion rate of 21.2 per cent compared to the scheduled 32 per cent.
He said the implementation issue had occurred for a variety of reasons, one of which was due to a change of government in 2018.
“This resulted in the supervisor of the project being handed over to the Sabah Public Works Department in total.
“It is hoped that the PN government, through the new Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadhilah Yusof, can do something to speed up the implementation,” he said in a statement, today.
Abdul Rahman said Fadhilah was experienced in handling the Pan Borneo Highway project when he was the Works Minister in the Barisan Nasional (BN) government.
He noted the Sabah people were hopeful that Fadhilah, being a federal minister from East Malaysia, could take immediate action to bring the project back on track and accelerate its implementation.
Stretching 1,236km, the mega Pan Borneo Sabah highway, which is to be implemented in stages, is expected to be the heartbeat of the state’s economy.
The first phase involves 706km stretching from Sindumin-Kota Kinabalu-Mile 32 Sandakan-Tawau and two-lane coastal road from Tuaran to Kudat.
The second phase is the upgrading of 98km-road connecting Tamparuli and Ranau, while the third phase involves 432km stretch from Tawau-Kalabakan-Keningau-Kimanis.
Abdul Rahim, who is also Kudat member of parliament, said there were supposedly six packages for coastal roads from Tuaran to Kudat, but only one Work Package 10 was awarded thus far.
“The package involved 32.2km stretch from Pituru, Tuaran to Rampayan Laut, Kota Belud, with current progress stood at 11.5 per cent compared to the scheduled 20.7 per cent.
“The execution of the Pan Borneo Highway, particularly the coastal highway linking Kota Belud-Bingolon (Kota Marudu)-Kudat will be an economic game changer especially in the northwest coast of Sabah, once completed.
“Not only will it reduce travel time, this coastal road to Kudat is also expected to enable exploration of new economic activities. It will open new tourism destinations and other potential sectors namely aquaculture, agriculture, and plantation,” he said.