MIRI: The Works Ministry must consult all rural native communities and consider their views on the route for the northern Sarawak to Sabah road link bypassing Brunei, said Baram People’s Action Committee chairman Philip Jau.
“The rural folks are glad that the Federal Government is kick-starting this highway construction.
“But they want to know details of the alignment of the highway,” Jau said.
He said the Federal Government seemed to have decided on the mega road to link Miri to Baram, Limbang, Lawas and the rural northern frontiers and into Sabah by bypassing Brunei.
The mega project, once it materialises, would boost economic and social progress for at least 50,000 people in Baram, he said.
“This northern Borneo highway will open up vast economic and tourism potentials for northern Sarawak and Sabah.”
However, he said the local communities want the ministry to consult and brief them.
“We want to be in the know about the masterplan so that we will know which villages will be connected. We have our views about the routes.”
He acknowledged that it was an “exciting project”.
“It will open up the Miri-Baram-Lawas-Limbang region to new prospects for tourism, agriculture, commerce and industries.
“Travellers from Miri to Limbang and Lawas and beyond will no longer have to pass through Brunei. We can avoid a lot of immigration and Customs queue,” he said.
At present, road travellers from Miri wanting to go to Limbang, Lawas and the Ba’ Kelalan highlands have to go through Brunei.
They would need to deal with immigration procedures at the various checkpoints and Customs requirements.
Works Minister Baru Bian had said that his ministry has been given the greenlight to start the project to link Miri to the interiors of Long Lama, across Baram to Ba’kelalan highlands and then to Limbang, Lawas and into Sabah by bypassing Brunei.
The present checkpoint between Miri and Brunei is at the Sungai Tujuh point while the Brunei to Limbang checkpoint is at Sungai Pandaruan.
These two checkpoints serve the existing Pan Borneo trunk road leading from Miri into Brunei into Limbang and Lawas and Sabah.
That is the only road now between Miri and Limbang and onwards to Lawas and Sabah.
There are no other land routes for motorists to use between Miri to Limbang without passing through Brunei.
Since the 1980s, there has been talk about having a direct land route from Miri to Limbang and Lawas that by-passes Brunei.
Sumber: The Star