Sabah Sarawak Link Pan Borneo Highway Crucial For Growth Says Federation






KOTA KINABALU: Three key major infrastructure development projects including the Pan Borneo Highway must be expedited to accelerate economic growth in Sabah and Sarawak.
Federation of Chinese Associations Sabah (FCAS) chairman Tan Sri TC Goh said that apart from the Pan Borneo Highway, the state government must step up the Sabah-Sarawak Road Link project and the necessary infrastructure developments locally to catch up with Indonesia's move to shift its capital to neighbouring Kalimantan.
He said the development projects must be stepped up by the state and federal governments to ensure the Bornean states were in place to progress and benefit from the economic growth.
Goh, who is also a member of the Sabah Economic Advisory Council (SEAC), said that the RM6.5bil allocation for Sabah was about 3.1% more than the amount allocated in the initial Budget 2023 tabled by the previous federal administration.
"Overall, there is a 25% increase when compared with the amount of RM5.2bil allocated to Sabah in Budget 2022," he said in a statement to welcome the allocation for Sabah under Budget 2023 tabled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on Friday (Feb 24).
"It is welcoming to see the Federal Government’s commitment to expedite the Pan Borneo Highway and the Sarawak-Sabah link road projects.
“The other major sector of great economic potential which should not be neglected is the shifting of the Indonesian capital city from Jakarta to Nusantarta in east Kalimantan, which is expected to happen in the first quarter of 2024.
"Sabah and Sarawak should start making strategic plans around the borders, in order to better benefit from the ‘ripple effect’ of the mega plan, eventually,” he said.
Goh also noted that there was a need for the Federal Government to continue to focus on Sabah’s infrastructure development and this includes proper maintenance and upgrading of public roads to be on par with other states.
He said that the Federal Government's move to delegate approval for 65 federal projects below RM50mil would also help speed up the development of the state.
Goh said that Anwar's announcement to create Malaysia as a regional hub for ship building and ship repair (SBSR) activities through tax incentives was a welcomed development.
"We hope that the initiative could propel greater development of the SBSR sector in the east Malaysia region," he added.
Goh also hoped the Federal Government would continue to step up efforts to boost the standard of the public health sector, and infrastructure development, including Internet broadband speed and penetration.
Among other allocations under Budget 2023 was a sum of RM1bil for Sabah and Sarawak to include the construction of the Customs, Immigration, Quarantine and Security (CIQS) facility at the border town in Kalabakan in anticipation of the shifting of the Indonesian capital to Kalimantan.
Also allocated was RM20bil to expedite the more than 1,000km Pan Borneo Sabah-Sarawak Road Link project as well RM2.5bil for Sabah and Sarawak to implement public amenity projects, including roads, streetlights, electricity and water supply.- Star


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