KOTA KINABALU: Deputy Works Minister Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin hopes the Trans-Borneo Highway will become a reality during her five years tenure at the ministry.
The project, which will link Sabah with Sarawak and Brunei, has been planned since 2006 but is yet to be completed.
“I don’t want it to remain merely a plan. I want to see it comes true. And I feel my minister, (Datuk Fadillah Yusof) who
hails from Sarawak, feels the same way,” she said when met by The Borneo Post at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) upon her arrival from Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
She described the project as the ministry’s biggest challenge in the future.
“We need to see that it will not just take off but is actually achieved … we want it to be resolved and take off because Sabah and Sarawak are both huge states and in need of this infrastructure,” said Rosnah, who is also the first woman Deputy Works Minister.
The length of the entire highway in Malaysia is estimated to be 2,083 kilometers.
Aside from that, Rosnah also said that as Sabah and Sarawak were still left behind in terms of infrastructure, more attention should be given for their development.
“Attention has to be given to the two without ignoring the rest of the states in Semenanjung (West Malaysia),” she said.
She also spoke of her new portfolio in the Works Ministry, stating that it was a far cry from the responsibilities she had when she was Deputy Health Minister.
“In terms of the structure of the ministry itself, it is totally different from Health (Ministry).
“ The Public Works Department deals more with structure issue, and I would love to see the problems affecting Sabah and Sarawak reduced and be at par with Semenanjung because we are very much in need of infrastructure,” she said.
She added that she will be meeting with Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan and the Assistant Minister Datuk Ghulam Haidar Khan Bahadar to discuss on how they can work together for the state’s progress.
Rosnah also commented on the decision of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to select three women from Sabah as deputy ministers at three distinct ministries.
Aside from Rosnah, two other women appointed by Najib were Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun (Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister) and Datuk Mary Yap (Deputy Education and Higher Education Minister).
“I am glad. I was expecting Datuk Azizah to be a full minister, but unfortunately, belum rezeki Sabah (it is not yet Sabah’s luck), although Sarawak has two women full ministers.
“But it is an honour for us and a recognition for Sabah.
“It is very sweet for me – Azizah is representing the Wanita Umno, Mary represents PBS (Parti Bersatu Sabah) and myself, Puteri Umno – so I think it’s due recognition by the president of the party and the prime minister.
“We believe he has aspirations to let us work and to see that we, women can contribute as well as the men. I am looking forward to that.
“It is a big challenge for all three of us as the ministry we are in is not easy.
“Education has its challenges, and Women, Family and Community Development has its own challenges and of course, the Works Ministry.
“We shouldn’t look at it in this way – that there was no full minister position given to our women, but rather view it in a perspective that the ministries given to us, the Sabahan women are very challenging indeed,” she said.
“This, for me, is a recognition that the women of Sabah can contribute. These ministries used to be headed by merely men.
“Now only Datuk Rahim (Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri, Deputy Defence Minister) is flanked by the three of us (women) and then there are the six full ministers. It is a good number.
“It is an achievement for Sabah itself.
“It is historical,” said the Papar Member of Parliament.