INTERVIEW | As the newly appointed works minister, Baru Bian has set his sights on the Pan Borneo Highway, one of the mega projects close to the hearts of East Malaysians. He said the project will be 'looked into' to reduce costs.
The project spans 1,060km, linking Sarawak and Sabah, and will cost RM16 billion. To date, 193km has been completed while phase one of the project, 791km in length, is expected to be completed in 2021.
"The Pan Borneo Highway is a very specific project which is, in fact, an ongoing project and I understand that this project was under the Prime Minister's Department and the Finance Ministry as well. Certain packages have already been awarded to various people.
"We know that the value of this project is huge and if there are ways and means to relook the whole thing and see if we can cut cost. Not to cancel the whole project, that is not what we want to do," Baru told Malaysiakini in an interview.
The Selangau MP said that although some contracts from the mega-project have been awarded, the ministry will review them. He acknowledged that there are possibilities to reduce the cost of the project but legal aspects of the contracts would have to be looked into.
"Generally, I feel that projects must be based on needs. Is there a need to have these projects? These are the crucial questions for us. We have to look if it is feasible or not.
"There are a lot of projects that we want to do but all these questions must be asked: whether they are necessary in the context of our economic situation. We cannot just stall all these because we need infrastructure to go on as a developing country. These are catalysts for development overall," Baru said...