KOTA KINABALU: The RM288 million Telipok-Randagong road project will be a boon to tourism and agriculture in Kiulu and Ranau, said Tourism, Culture and Environment minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun.
Masidi said the road, spanning 60 km connecting Jalan Telipok with Pekan Kiulu, Pukak, Pahu, Lokos, Toboh and Randagong, will create access to hidden jewel areas that lacked infrastructural connection.
He elaborated this will give the hardworking people of Kiulu and Ranau the opportunity to wider access of agricultural produce market and spur rural tourism growth.
“They will have the option of selling at Pekan Ranau, Keningau and also Kota Kinabalu,” said Masidi, who is also Karanaan assemblyman.
“We can plant leafy vegetables for example but if it takes too much time to get to the market, all that work will be to no avail because the vegetables will become spoiled before it gets to the market.
“With my own calculations, from the borders of Ranau and Kiulu, a vegetable farmer can reach Kota Kinabalu in less than an hour and I am sure they will be able to reach the market and get a higher chance to sell it in the city,” he added.
In terms of tourism, Masidi foresees the establishment of upscale tourist accommodation in the environment that had been preserved for the last 50 years.
“This gives us a chance to encourage the tourism sector to grow along the road in these beautiful areas. I predict the growth of upscale chalets and also homestay,” said Masidi after officiating the Kolej Sidma Sabah and Kolej Universiti Islam Antarabangsa (KUIS) Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing ceremony here yesterday.
“This (the road project) is a game changer for all the people who are living along that road because it opens up an immense potential to improve their livelihood,” he concluded.
The road project is at 65% construction completion, way ahead of the expected 45% target by start of 2018.