SIBU: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has launched the 76km stretch of the Pan Borneo Highway leading from the Bintangor Junction to Jambatan Sungai Kua.
The stretch, which costs RM1.7 billion to construct, will be divided into three sections and is expected to be completed within 51 months.
Of the RM1.7 billion, RM533.8 million will be awarded to Sarawak Bumiputera contractors.
To demonstrate that the project is indeed one for and by the people, some 60 Bumiputera contractors have been given letters of awards and letters of intent to undertake jobs for this stretch of project, said Najib.
He added that small local Sarawakian contractors such as those owning Class F licenses will also be benefitting from the project, where 16 of them had been chosen through balloting.
“Today, some construction work will be given to the Ibans so that when they see the highway, they can claim to be part of it.”
“There will be a sense of ownership. It (Pan Borneo Highway) will be a project for the people of Sarawak,” Najib said at the function held at the old Durin Ferry terminal, some 30km from Sibu town.
Citing Bakun Dam as an example, he said he would not make Pan Borneo Highway a mega project undertaken only by big contractors.
“I don’t want it to be like other mega projects such as Bakun where the longhouse folks down the dam can see the electricity cables but there is no electricity in their longhouses.”
“I don’t want to repeat the mistake and give it to contractors who can’t deliver,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem, who jokingly addressed the prime minister as “Najib anak Razak”, said in the last six years, Najib had visited Sarawak over 50 times.
“He does not just come to Sarawak with a big smile but he comes bearing gifts. So far, he has brought RM3 billion to Sarawak,” said Adenan.