SABAH regions are connected by a poor network of roads. In 2005, 61% of all roads were still gravel and earth roads. The central sub-region is separated by the Crocker range and this forms a natural barrier to better road connectivity between the eastern and western sub-regions, and the interior districts are having the worst roads.
At present the major towns of Kota Kinabalu, Kudat, Sandakan, Lahad Datu, Tawau and Keningau are not well inter-connected with good roads when compared to the road network in Peninsula Malaysia. These are 'sub-standard highway' with the JKR-R3 standard roads linking these regional towns.
In 2005, Sabah had 1,428 km of federal trunk roads and 14,249 km of state roads, out of which 6,094 km were sealed roads and the remaining 9,583 km were gravel and earth roads. This indicates that only 38.9% of roads are sealed in Sabah compared to 89.4% of sealed roads in Peninsula Malaysia.
Furthermore, trunk roads constructed in the 1970s and 1980s under World Bank loans were of sufficient standards at that time. However, given present requirements, there is a need to upgrade these roads. For instance, the road pavement and shoulder width (suitable previously) are now too narrow and inadequate to meet the demand of present size of vehicles and traffic volume prying on these roads.
In order to develop the interior regions, the road network linking East to West, and North to South must be built and completed as soon as possible. The Pan Borneo Highway connecting Sabah via Brunei to Sarawak must be upgraded to R5 standard of dual carriageway.
It is now time to connect Sabah and Sarawak without having to pass through Brunei. The construction of the Pan Borneo Highway (a federal highway) began in 1963 when Sabah and Sarawak joined the Federation of Malaysia. It was planned for a total length of 2,083km and as of 2006 was 95% of R3-type road was completed.
The reliance on gravel roads all over Sabah slow down the development of industries, as transportation of goods such as local agricultural and manufactured products are constrained from being transported to ports or airports.
The road infrastructure does not facilitate containerized transport and this represents a constraint on the development of this food processing cluster. These issues need to be urgently addressed by the government which requires that such roads be widened to ease traffic flow and facilitate transportation of goods.
Under the 9th Malaysia Plan, a total sum of RM3.188 billion (19%) was allocated for road network linkage projects out of RM16.9 billion total projects costs. Sadly, a total of only RM6.8 billion (40%) of all projects (inclusive of roads) was completed out of the RM16.9 billion total projects.
These demonstrated the ineffectiveness, inefficiencies and slackness of the BN government in implementing, constructing and completing planned projects in Sabah. How can BN complete the road projects, develop Sabah and implementing good governance? At the meanwhile, Sabahans will continue to suffer the nightmare of these bad roads and risk heavy damages to their vehicles or even face road accidents.
Under the 10th Malaysian Plan (2011-2015) RM20.30 billion has been allocated for all the Sabah development projects. With the BN government performance of a meager 40% in the 9th Malaysia Plan, do Sabahans expect BN to complete 50% of the 10th Malaysia Plan projects by 2015? At this rate the BN is performing, Sabah will surly further lag behind West Malaysia in all developments.
Since independence and up to 2012, we are already 20 years behind West Malaysia in terms of development. Do Sabahans want to give BN another five years to run the state government after the 2013 General Elections?
The people of Sabah must go to the 2013 polls with the aim of “Ini Kali Lah – Ubah, Tukar” vote totally and singly for Pakatan Rakayat to form the new government in order to fully benefit from the Malaysia Plan development projects. The PR states (Penang, Selangor, Kelantan and Kedah) have seen the effectiveness, efficiencies and good governance with creditability, accountability and transparency (CAT) principles. This has been proven in the last five years since 2008, and the Auditor General Report had confirmed that.
Under the Pakatan Rakyat, Sabah shall move forward and revive to become one of the richest states in Malaysia again using its vast natural resources and land bank.
“Enough is enough” with the fifty years of BN government, the people have seen enough and suffered enough. Why not give Pakatan Rakyat five years to turn things around? At least, you can be rest assure that a new management in the Sabah state government will be much better than the old BN.