Sarawak River to be deepened to increase navigable depth, says Fadillah

Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof

Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof

KUCHING: Dredging works will be carried out at the Sarawak River to increase its navigable depth, said Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof.

He said RM360 million had been allocated for the project, which is expected to be completed by 2019.

“This project will allow Sarawak to take advantage of the Asean Free Trade Area (Afta) and Asean Economic Community (AEC) initiatives as it will enable the Sarawak River to become an international shipping highway,” he said in his keynote address at the 3rd Sarawak Business and Investment Summit here yesterday.

He mentioned that all this while access to the state capital by water was limited by shallow sea approaches at the Sarawak River delta which only allowed smaller ocean-going vessels to call at the Kuching Port.

Fadillah also said the government aimed to fully provide infrastructure and connectivity to Sarawak’s rural areas by 2030, making it on par with the rest of the nation.

He noted that a recent survey conducted by the state Infrastructure Development Ministry concluded that it would need close to RM20 billion to provide connectivity to the scattered villages in Sarawak and accessibility to 31,512 people.

“It is notable that in 2016 alone, Sarawak has allocated RM5.9 billion for development spending with rural development taking up RM2.6 billion of this allocation,” he said.

He reiterated that the Pan Borneo Highway which would be the transportation backbone of Sabah and Sarawak was the key in ensuring socio-economic development and job creation in both states were attainable.

Apart from the Pan Borneo Highway project, he said the federal government had also approved four new projects; namely the Igan Bridge, Rambungan Bridge, Medan Jaya Flyover and Batang Lupar Bridge with a total cost of RM1.55 billion which would commence by the end of next year.

He said many initiatives had been implemented by the state, with more in the pipeline, and urged all the state’s investors to continue to have faith in the state leadership and drive Sarawak towards its goal of a more prosperous Malaysia for the mutual benefit of all.