Saturday, 26 May 2018

(The Star) Shafie confident Pan-Borneo Highway project will go on

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government is confident that the Pan-Borneo Highway project being reviewed by the Federal Government will not be axed, says Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.

“Perhaps because of the financial concerns we are facing at the federal level, which also saw ministers taking a pay cut, the project has to be reviewed.

“But I’m confident that it will go on,” he told reporters after launching the RTM Jelajah Ramadan programme here yesterday.

The Pakatan Harapan government is reviewing mega projects such as the High Speed Rail, phase three of the Mass Rapid Transit and possibly phase two of the Pan Borneo Highway.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad recently said the national debt had reached RM1 trillion or more than 65% of the GDP.

“Sabah is also not spared from financial woes, as there are a lot of debt repayments that need to be done and debts that many Sabahans are unaware of.

“I will later detail all the debts of Yayasan Sabah and the state government that need to be settled,” said Shafie, who is also state Finance Minister.

The RM12.86bil Pan Borneo Highway, due for completion in 2021, straddles the two largest states in Malaysia – Sabah and Sarawak – connecting them through a 2,325km toll-free road network.

It starts from Sematan at the tip of Sarawak, cutting through Kuching to Kota Kinabalu and the west coast of Sabah linking to Tawau on the east coast.

Separately, Shafie said the media in Sabah would be independent under the Pakatan Harapan-Parti Warisan Sabah government.

He wanted the media to play its role as a watchdog and voice for the grassroots.

“Even if what the people are saying is bitter for the government to hear, the media must do its part and air their views,” he added.

Earlier in his speech, Shafie said he had spoken to Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo on the need for government-owned media to reform.