It’s now toll-free across Sarawak

Adenan fulfils his promise to Sarawakians by abolishing bridge toll in the state

Adenan (fourth right) and other dignitaries lifting the toll bar to symbolise the end of the toll system in Sarawak. Also seen in the photo is Jamilah (fifth left). — Photo by Muhammad Rais Sanusi

Adenan (fourth right) and other dignitaries lifting the toll bar to symbolise the end of the toll system in Sarawak. Also seen in the photo is Jamilah (fifth left). — Photo by Muhammad Rais Sanusi

KUCHING: The toll plaza of Tun Salahuddin Bridge and its vicinity erupted with joy and cheer as Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem officially abolished toll for the bridge while thousands of revellers gathered to ring in the new year.

It marked the very first time Adenan and his wife Datin Patinggi Dato Jamilah Anu as well as other state leaders and local dignitaries join a major New Year’s Eve do, which was held to not only usher in the year 2016 but more importantly to show the world that Adenan delivers his promises made to Sarawakians.

From today, people in the city no longer need to pay toll charges of RM0.50 to RM3.30 to cross the Sarawak River via the Tun Salahuddin Bridge.

The Tun Salahuddin Bridge was one of the three bridges in the state collecting toll before the new year.

The others were Lanang Bridge in Sibu and Asean Bridge in Miri. Toll at Lanang Bridge was abolished in May while Asean Bridge was made toll-free in June last year, thanks to Adenan’s commitment to make Sarawak a better home for all.

By 11pm, Adenan and Jamilah arrived outside the main stage and made their way to the VIP area amidst thunderous applause.

As soon as Adenan and other invited guests were seated, two artistes jointly presented an oldie titled ‘The Young Ones’.

A multimedia presentation featuring recorded messages from state leaders and appreciation from members of the public for the toll abolishment was played before Adenan delivered his speech.

Addressing the high-spirited crowd, Adenan said he had fulfilled his promises to scrap toll charges for the three bridges in the state. In return, he hoped Sarawakians would also make and keep their promises to give him another five years.

“I promise for as long as I am the chief minister of Sarawak, there will be no toll charges. The Pan Borneo Highway spanning over 1,000 km that has a lot of bridges will also be toll free.”

He added that the prime minister had also given his assurance that the Pan Borneo Highway would be toll free once completed.

In addition, Adenan said he also had reduced electricity tariffs for various sectors apart from enforcing the RM1 ferry fee across the state.

Adenan (seated) serenades Jamilah and the crowd with ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’ in response to popular request for him to sing.

Adenan (seated) serenades Jamilah and the crowd with ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’ in response to popular request for him to sing.

This vintage car was the first vehicle to pass through the toll plaza after the toll charges were abolished.

This vintage car was the first vehicle to pass through the toll plaza after the toll charges were abolished.

Zecon employees were among the thousands welcoming the New Year at the bridge.

Zecon employees were among the thousands welcoming the New Year at the bridge.

As such, he called on Sarawakians to fulfil their promises come the next state election, adding: “I want you to promise that in three months’ time, you will give me five more years.”

Adenan thanked Zecon Toll Concessionaire Sdn Bhd for cooperating with the state government to abolish the toll charges.

“They also place the interest and welfare of the people instead of making profits only.”

He said his administration had allocated some RM500 million last year and another RM500 million this year to speed up rural development in the state.

“I want to close the gap between rural and urban areas. It will take some time but let it begin and begin now.”

Adenan ended his speech by asking the crowd if they wanted to hear him sing to which they said “Yesss”, prompting Adenan to say: “Okay, I will sing for my wife.”

After he presented ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’, he immediately announced that PBB would retain the incumbents for Pantai Damai (Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi), Satok (Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Abang Openg_ and Semariang (Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali).

Meanwhile, local renowned artistes Datuk Jamal Abdillah, Dayang Nurfaizah and Amir Ukays were among those staging performances for revellers during the countdown event to commemorate the momentous and historic occasion.

The celebration culminated in a 10-minute fireworks display.

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