KUCHING: Sarawak government has been warned against rushing into the implementation of the Second Trunk Road and instead prioritise the basic infrastructure and school projects in rural areas. State PKR vice chairman See Chee How said the road project was estimated to cost the state an exorbitant RM4 billion to RM6 billion. Therefore, he said the state government must appoint a certified integrity officer from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to oversee the project, including the design, value assessment, tender process, appointment of consultant and contractor as well as the finance aspect. The Batu Lintang assemblyman said all road projects were beneficial as they provided access and connectivity to the people. However, he said, the state government should learn to prioritise projects that matter to the people most, particularly those in the rural areas. “Some of our rural community still don’t get to enjoy electricity and treated water supply while many dilapidated schools need to be repaired. These are more important and urgent. “It doesn’t mean the Second Trunk Road project is not necessary but we already have the Pan Borneo Highway and the Sarawak Coastal Road project. “Thus, it is more rational to use the money (allocated for the Second Trunk Road) to build other basic amenities for the rural,” he told the reporters at a press conference held at his office here on Sunday. The Sarawak Coastal Road project which was approved 32 years ago under the Fifth Malaysia Plan was still ongoing. “It is an embarrassment that the project has yet to complete and there’s no clear indication when it will be materialised. “The state government should be focusing on this project and not rushing to implement another project that serve the similar purpose – to cut short travel period,” he said. See, who is also the newly-appointed as the Works Ministry’s special officer for Sarawak said to finance the pricey project might strain the state’s financial resources as well.
“We are worried the state’s reserve will disappear within the next few years. Thus, I call upon Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Abang Openg and his administration to uphold integrity, transparency and good governance,” he added. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd