KUCHING: The Sarawak government has decided to take over the cost of the construction of bridges across Sungai Rambungan, Batang Igan and Batang Lupar rivers because it did not want connectivity in the state to be disrupted, says Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing.
He said if the Sarawak government decides to discontinue with the three proposed bridge projects that were withdrawn by the new federal government, they would have a problem with the coastal highway.
“Because there will be no connectivity, the state government has decided that it cannot allow the promises that were broken to stop us from building the coastal highway,” he told a press conference after witnessing a contract signing ceremony between Regional Corridor Development Authority (Recoda) and contractors for the Upper Rajang Development Agency (Urda) infrastructure projects.
Masing, who is also Minister of Infrastructure and Ports Development, said the decision of the new federal government to withdraw the funding for the three bridge projects was a big disappointment not just to the Sarawak government, but also to the people of Sarawak.
He said by withdrawing the funding, the Sarawak government had lost the chance of putting the amount of money that they were going to use to finance the three bridge projects to implement development elsewhere in the state.
“Sometimes, people get angry with us for not going to other areas. But because they withdraw the projects that were supposed to be financed by the federal government, we have to bear the cost.
“That is a big disappointment to us. But whatever it is, we will find the funds to do it. The previous government promised, and the GPS government will deliver,” he said.
Masing said the total cost of the withdrawn projects approved by the previous administration was about RM1.1 billion – the proposed Rambugan bridge costs RM300 million, the Batang Igan bridge costs RM300 million and the Batang Lupar bridge costs RM1 billion, of which 50 per cent of the total costs would be financed by the federal government and 50 per cent by the Sarawak government.