Monday, October 13, 2014

Send the Pan Borneo Highway Budget Allocation to Sabah Sarawak – Dr. Jeffrey

Kota Kinabalu:    “At a quick glance, it would appear that Budget 2015 provided RM27 billion for the 1,663 km Pan Borneo Highway.  However, on a closer look, it is misleading as the federal government only intends to start construction and that the total project would cost RM27 billion but there is no budget allocation for the Highway” said Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, STAR Sabah Chief in commenting on the Pan Borneo Highway which almost everyone is fooled.

The biggest who got fooled are the Sabah and Sarawak BN leaders who have jumped on the bandwagon thanking PM Najib for allocating RM27 billion for the Pan Borneo Highway when it is clearly not so.

Unfortunately, they have to pinch themselves that it is only in their dreams that the RM
27 billion has been allocated.  It is not inside the RM50.5 billion development expenditure as 7 infrastructure projects in Malaya have taken up RM48.25 billion, at stated at item 51 of the Budget speech, namely:-

             51.   In 2015, several infrastructure projects will be implemented:

First: Construction of the 59-km Sungai Besi – Ulu Klang Expressway (SUKE) at a total construction cost of RM5.3 billion;

Second: Construction of the 276-km West Coast Expressway from Taiping to Banting at a total construction cost of RM5 billion;

Third: Construction of the 47-km Damansara – Shah Alam Highway (DASH) at a total construction cost of RM4.2 billion;

Fourth: Construction of the 36-km Eastern Klang Valley Expressway (EKVE) at a total construction cost of RM1.6 billion;

Fifth: Upgrading the East Coast railway line along Gemas – Mentakab, Jerantut – Sungai Yu and Gua Musang – Tumpat with an allocation of RM150 million;

Sixth: Construction of the 56-km Second MRT Line from Selayang to Putrajaya at an estimated cost of RM23 billion; and

Seventh: LRT 3 Project, which will link Bandar Utama to Shah Alam and Klang, at an estimated cost of RM9 billion, will be implemented.

The insincerity of the PM and the federal government in not allocating and prioritizing the Pan Borneo Highway only reinforces the fact that the federal government treat Sabah and Sarawak as colonies and do not bother about the promises of development given at the formation of Malaysia.

The PM speaks with a forked tongue when he says that the government is concerned and gives importance to the development and improving the welfare of the rakyat in Sabah and Sarawak in the national development agenda but gives no priority to the Highway while approving 4 highways in Malaya at the total costs of RM16.1 billion in 2015.

On the next day, the federal Works confirms that there is no budget for the Highway which will take 11 years to complete in 2025.   At the same function, the insincerity of the federal government is further affirmed when Malacca is allocated RM500 million to construct several roads as well as two flyovers to address traffic congestion in the state.

It racks of double standards when Malacca is allocated RM500 million but Sabah and Sarawak has to share RM943 million for construction of rural roads with the other 11 States in Malaya in Budget 2015.

Reliable sources indicate that while there is no allocation for the Pan Borneo Highway, the Sarawak government has put its foot down and insisted that the federal government provide the financial resources for a Sarawak consortium decided by the Sarawak government to build the Sarawak portion of the Highway measuring 936 km.

On the other hand, the Sabah government has failed to adopt a similar stand and is allowing an Umno-led consortium to build the Sabah portion of the Highway measuring 727 km. with Malayan companies dominating construction and Sabah companies only get a maximum 50% sub-contract works.  This is totally unacceptable.

Both the Sabah and Sarawak governments should stand firm and insist that the federal government allocate the RM27 billion immediately over the next 3 years and send the allocation to the Sabah and Sarawak governments to finance the Pan Borneo Highway and allow Sabah and Sarawak companies to do the construction works respectively.  

This way, the Highway can be completed in 3-5 years at the most not 2025 if left to the federal government. It is a shame that work has not even started after 51 years of forming Malaysia.

After all, for 2014, Sabah and Sarawak are expected to contribute RM28 billion and RM55 billion in oil revenues to Petronas and the federal government.  The figures are likely to increase in 2015 to RM40-50 billion for Sabah as the Gumust-Kakap oilfield has just started production of up to 135,000 barrels per day and gas production commencing next year with another RM60 billion for Sarawak.

Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan
President Borneo Heritage Foundation (BHF)
12 October 2014


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