KUCHING: The Pan Borneo Highway project in Sabah is delayed because huge amount of money has to be used for land compensation.
“Sabah nang (is) well behind time. Burst ceiling sbb (because) (of) land compensation,” explained former Minister of Works Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof.
Fadillah, who is Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) senior vice president, was asked to comment on Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad statement that the government will be looking into the delay of the construction of the Pan Borneo Highway in Sabah where funds have been channelled.
Fadillah stressed that all payment process was done at the Sabah state government level by the Ministry of Finance (MoF), while his Ministry was only overseeing technical aspect of the project.
“All process done at state level. (There was) no over payment because MoF controlled all the payment process (and) not Works Ministry. The Works Ministry, through the independent checker engineer only verified technical compliance and progress,” he stressed.
When asked to comment on Dr Mahathir’s statement that the government was also looking into ways for the highway to avoid crossing into Brunei so as to do away with the process of immigration and to smoothen movements between Sabah and Sarawak, Fadillah said he had made similar proposal before but was turned down.
“The challenge is to do the road along the proposed new alignment. He needs to check the study done on that new alignment. I did propose the same alignment but was turned down and the reason was partly from that study, that is the viability and affordability of the government,” he stressed.
When asked whether cost or the road steep gradient had led to the refusal, Fadillah said: “Yes that was part of reason.”
Fadillah, however, declined to comment when asked whether this Pan Borneo Highway issue or new route is a diversion of Pakatan Harapan’s one too many promises such as the 20 per cent oil royalty that the new federal government is trying very hard not to fulfil now.
“I have made statement recently and part of it is on their promises,” the Gabungan Parti Sarawak whip concluded.