KOTA KINABALU: Even if the federal government stops road development in Malaya and channels all resources to Sabah and Sarawak, it will take 20 years for the two states to catch up, said Bingkor Assemblyman Jeffrey Kitingan in a statement.
“The Pan Borneo is a dual-carriageway of four lanes, but highways in Malaya are already between eight and 10 lanes,” he claimed.
He cited, as an example, Jementah in Johor, an obscure place. “It has a new paved four lane highway in the kampung.”
“If not for oil and gas revenues from Sabah and Sarawak, some of the Malayan roads would still be gravel or mud roads,” said Jeffrey.
He said Sabahans were being taken for a ride with the rhetoric on the Pan Borneo Highway, “as if it’s God-sent”.
He pointed out that tens of billions had been taken from Sabah alone annually.
“An additional RM16.66 billion per annum would come from the new Malikai oil field later this month,” he said.
From another perspective, said Jeffrey, the federal government was spending RM55 billion on the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL). “The repayment of this loan would likely be from the oil and gas stolen from Sabah and Sarawak.”
He claimed Sabahans were being misled by Prime Minister Najib Razak and Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman on the Pan Borneo Highway.
“It’s nothing more than an election gimmick and trumpet blowing,” said Jeffrey. “The highway is already 35 years late.”
He was dismissing the rhetoric on the highway after the launch of a short Lahad Datu stretch by Najib on Monday.
Again, he said, the Pan Borneo Highway should have been built by the 1980s after the big promises made in 1962 and 1963 to develop Sabah.
“It induced Sabah to give up 60% of its revenues,” said Jeffrey. “There was no development, no security, and even the 40 % was not returned to the state.”
He highlighted salient points on road development in Sabah.
For starters, there was no dual carriageway between Kota Belud, Kudat, Tambunan, Keningau and Tongod. “Existing trunk roads are not even, some are wavier than the waters off Kota Kinabalu,” said Jeffrey.
There are only two flyovers in the whole of Sabah, although Sabah is as large as six states in Malaya.
Almost all kampung roads, especially in the interior areas, were gravel and mud-roads or ex-logging tracks, said Jeffrey.
“Many villagers have to rely on rain-water or gravity-fed water from the hills,” he said. -FMT