by ASILA JALIL / Pic by BERNAMA
THE first phase of the Sarawak Pan Borneo Highway project is expected to complete after the first quarter of 2023 (1Q23).
Deputy Works Minister Datuk Arthur Joseph Kurup (picture) said the completion date for the first phase of the highway was initially by the end of this year as stated by the terms in the contract, but has been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“However, similar to other government projects, the Covid-19 pandemic has affected work progress and the cost of this project.
“Therefore it is estimated that several packages for the project will face some delay and the expected completion date will be beyond the 1Q23.
“The ministry and Sarawak Public Works Department will continue to monitor and make mitigation plans, among which include coordinating the construction plan and extension of time to ensure the packages in the project will be done smoothly and the completion date would not be too far off from the initial date,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
He was responding to a question from Igan MP Ahmad Jonie Zawawi, who queried on the latest update of the second phase for the highway which was previously shelved by the Pakatan Harapan administration.
The deputy minister added that 78% of the first phase for the Sarawak portion of the project has been completed as at January 2022, whereby several packages and sections have been opened for road users.
He said the ministry also takes proactive measures to monitor the development of the project via visits and engagement sessions with contractors and consultants involved.
This is to ensure the effectiveness of the mitigation plans and improvements taken to ensure the project can be done fluidly.
“As for Phase 2 of the highway, the government has approved several high impact projects including the implementation of the Transborneo line, which includes Phase Two of the Sarawak Pan Borneo Highway which was cancelled by the previous government, as well as the second phase of Sarawak-Sabah Link Road,” he said.
He noted that the approvals were made following the prime minister’s trip to Brunei on Feb 14 and 15, as well as the launch of the Serian section of the Pan Borneo Highway on Dec 5, 2021.