Saturday, June 21, 2008

SATURDAY-21ST JUNE 2008-Extra "RM1 bln to build roads in Sabah

Extra ‘RM 1 bln to build
roads in Sabah:

Additional funding for 9MP projects due to rising cost


Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, said the Government has approved additional funding of RM595 million to build roads in rural areas. He said the additional funding for the road projects under the Ninth Malaysia Plan was due to rising cost. The funding will come from the RM4 billion allocation that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had recently annnounced, of which RM1 billion each was for Sabah and Sarawak respectively while RM2 billion was for the Peninsular. Najib was speaking to reporters after chairing the Cabinet Committee on Investments and Infrastructure here yesterday. He said the additional funding would assist in completing the roads under 9MP period. “The priority or decisions on other projects will be taken in the near future based on the applications we will be receiving,” he said.
In realising the Government’s aim to provide basic utilities in the rural areas, Najib said a mapping system will be introduced to identify these areas nationwide that have yet to receive adequate roads and supply of water and electricity. “Some rural areas have water but no electricity, some have no roads. These are the things that we need to do mapping in order to have a complete inventory base,” he said. Najib said the committee has also decided to carry out a detailed study to address the needs of estate communities that have been deprived of these basic utilities as they had not been provided by the estate owners. He explained that estates are not included under the rural areas programmes.
“We will study the management of estates. If the Government is to take action, it will have implications. “I am not saying that the Government will take the burden but somebody has to implement this. There is a group of people being marginalised,” he noted. Najib said the committee had also discussed ways to boost the local construction industry, and one way was to promote the usage of Industrial Building System (IBS) which offers ready made parts of certain buildings or infrastructure. “There has been suggestion to limit the intake of foreign workers in order to increase investments in lBS. “If there is still dependency on cheap foreign labour, there would not be any incentive to promote lBS which requires more capital expenditure,” he said. - Bernama