Pan Borneo highway delayed by Covid, residents refusal to move

Pan Borneo highway delayed by Covid, residents refusal to move

KOTA KINABALU: The construction of the Pan Borneo Highway in Sabah has been delayed by several main factors, including the Covid-19 pandemic and refusal of residents to relocate, the Sabah state legislative assembly was told yesterday.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin said the project’s construction materials supply chain was affected by the previous enforcement of the Movement Control Order (MCO) due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bung Moktar, who is also Sabah Works Minister, said the project also had to deal with stubborn residents who chose not to relocate despite having been compensated. The government, however, was considerate and were allowing the residents to stay until the pandemic situation abates.

“The government is making efforts to reorganise plans to speed up the project so that it is completed earlier than scheduled,” he said when winding up the debate on the Sabah Budget 2022.

The Sabah Pan Borneo Highway has three phases, and 35 work packages has been implemented in phase one of the project involving a distance of 706 kilometres.

Bung Moktar said the government was constantly monitoring the quality of work done by project contractors to ensure that problems such as burst pipes, muddy and damaged roads, as well as flooding would not occur as it would make life difficult for Sabahans.

“If the contractors fail to perform maintenance works as stated in their contracts, the government will appoint a third party to do so and the cost will be fully borne by the contractors concerned,” he said.

Meanwhile, he said the supply expenditure of RM770.1 million and development expenditure of RM244.97 million allocated to his ministry were inadequate to fully overcome basic infrastructure problems in Sabah, especially road and water supply issues.

“We need an allocation of billions of ringgit to overcome the problem of water supply alone but we must understand the state government cannot afford it.

“So we do our best…we will ensure that despite facing this situation we have the commitment and determination to settle the problems for the people,” he added.-Bernama