KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said he believed the Pan Borneo Highway project would be the catalyst for a new leap to the demography and socio-economy of Sabah and Sarawak encompassing a higher quality of life, the development of a new economic corridor and the opening of new opportunities for the local communities.
The Prime Minister said it was in line with the Government’s Pledge on April 13, 2013 to provide a more efficient and safer network of roads for residents in Sabah and Sarawak.
“Therefore today again, the Pledge has been realised,” said Najib in his blog posting, najibrazak.com.
Najib today launched the sixth package of the Pan Borneo Highway project stretching 19.6 km to connect Putatan with Inanam costing RM900 million and described it as another historic moment for Sabah.
The package launched earlier were the Papar-Donggongon package on April 24, 2016 in Papar, the Tawau-Semporna package on May 28, 2016 in Tawau, the Lahad Datu bypass package on Dec 19, 2016 in Lahad Datu and the Sindumin-Kampung Melalia package on March 4, 2017 in Sipitang.
Najib said from the economic perspective, the Pan Borneo Highway would increase efficiency and reduce the cost of ‘point-to-point connectivity’ which would be faster with lower transportation costs.
“On the Delivery Partner Project model, the government is confident it can implement the project on schedule with the set Key Performance Indicators,” said the prime minister.
Spanning a distance of 1,236 km, the Sabah Pan Borneo Highway will cost RM12.86 billion and will be fully borne by the federal government.
He said, as with the Pan Borneo Highway in Sarawak, it would be a toll-free highway built by the government.
“The decision not to impose a toll along the Pan Borneo Highway is consistent with the current policy of the government as this highway involves the upgrading of existing roads,” Najib said.
Najib then explained that the 19.6-km stretch under the Putatan-Inanam package with an estimated cost of RM900 million launched today, was part of the route that will span Kota Kinabalu, also known as the Kota Kinabalu Outer Ring Road.
He said the project would see the construction and upgrading of roads to a four-lane dual carriageway encompassing seven new bridges, six interchanges and 10 pedestrian overhead bridges.
“Upon completion, this road will provide comfortable, efficient and safe land access to 3.9 million Sabah residents in general, and 700,000 residents living around Kota Kinabalu in particular.
“As a result, Putatan and Inanam residents will enjoy a new highway that will open up new areas and boost the economic growth of the locals,” he said.
The prime minister said the project would also be a game changer for the socio-economic development landscape of Sabah and Sarawak, as it would be able to emulate the success of highway projects in Peninsular Malaysia, which have transformed development in the surrounding areas.
The main strategy of the government, he said was for the Pan Borneo Highway to strengthen and expand the network of roads for the two states.
He stressed that the project should be seen from a wider perspective especially in the value chain which involved opportunities given to local contractors in Sabah from various levels of implementation whether as consultants, vendors, suppliers or contractors.
“The project will also become a platform to produce more highly skilled manpower among the locals in Sabah,” said Najib.
Besides, he said the project also opened the door to more investments in the Sabah regional corridor and this met the mission and objective to promote a balance between the rural and urban areas.
“I want to congratulate the Works Ministry and the Sabah state government on their cooperation to ensure the Pan Borneo Highway in Sabah is implemented as planned,” said Najib. – Bernama