It has been announced that the Ministry of Works will be taking over the Pan Borneo Highway project by the end of August. Work on the highway is expected to resume in September once matters pertaining to the termination of the delivery partner (PDP) is resolved.
Under the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) administration, Lebuhraya Borneo Utara Sdn Bhd was appointed as the PDP to manage the project in Sarawak.
According to the trending personalities of the Pan Borneo project, Minister of Works Baru Bian took the lead. As the Works Minister, he was the one who announced and gave updates on the Pan Borneo Highway project in August.
For example, Baru announced that the PDP model for the Sabah portion of the project had been terminated.
He also reassured the people that the upgrading works on the Sarawak portion of the RM12.8 billion highway will no longer face delays once the Works Ministry takes over the project.
For the Sabah portion, the local state government will be in charge. Thus, Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal was also one of the trending personalities.
However, the Pan Borneo Highway project was criticised by Kiulu assemblyman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai. He urged the government to focus more on improving basic rural infrastructures and clean water supply for the people instead of the highway project.
According to Bangkuai, there are at least 100km of rural roads in Kiulu that require urgent attention, adding that not having clean water supply is another problem plaguing the residents at the moment.
Shafie has yet to respond to Bangkuai’s criticism. Meanwhile, the Sarawak state government remains silent on the Pan Borneo Highway project.