Musa shows up, queries on illegals and rail link
Published on: Wednesday, April 17, 2019
By: Ricardo Unto

Former Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman showed up for the State Assembly sitting, Tuesday and wasted no time in posing several questions to the State Government, including successor Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal.

Musa asked Shafie a supplementary question on whether the current government has continued regular exercise of rounding up illegals and deporting them back home.

“Every month before we would ensure they were deported back to their home country. This was when the Tambunan assemblyman was chairing the relevant committee.

“Has this been carried out all the months under the leadership of the new government?” he asked, for the first time as an Opposition lawmaker.

He then asked State Infrastructure Development Minister Datuk Peter Anthony (pic) if the latter was under “wishful thinking” in proposing the construction of a 175km rail service from Kota Kinabalu to Kudat.

“Is this just wishful thinking on the part of the new government when there are lots of infrastructure and projects that have yet to be carried out?

“The cost of such a project is too high that it seems to be just fantasy and not possible,” Musa said, using the word Malay word angan-angan and pointing out that the State Budget allocation was only RM4 billion.

However, Deputy Speaker Datuk Ahmad Abdul Rahman at this point chastised Musa for the use of language, forcing Musa to rephrase his question.

Peter asserted it is timely for a railroad connecting the city and Kudat to be built.

“If railroads costing billions of Ringgit Malaysia can be constructed in the peninsula, why cannot we build the same in Sabah?” he said during the question and answer session.

“It is timely for us to build a rail network to connect Tuaran, Kota Belud, Kota Marudu and Pitas and perhaps after the phase first of this network, we can connect Tenom with Keningau, Nabawan, Kalabakan, Tawau and Sandakan.”

Peter disclosed that the 175-km railroad will cost about RM5.2 billion.

“The construction of the railroad is with a good intention which is in line with the State Government’s plan to build a big port in Kudat.

“Once completed, the railroad is expected to cater to the needs of goods and passenger transportation, and it could also be used by students in Pitas, Kota Marudu and the surrounding areas,” he said.

To another supplementary question by Musa, Peter stressed the proposed project is not merely an unrealised dream by the State Government.

“The new government does not make immaterialised ambition, this is not the time to do so as this is the time to help the people who had long lived in despair.

“I am confident that the construction of the Kota Kinabalu-Kudat railroad has been anticipated by the people in Kudat and Kota Marudu as we know that they have poor connectivity.”

Earlier, Sulaman Assemblyman Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor had asked the Infrastructure Development Ministry on the progress of the said project.

Tamparuli Assemblyman Datuk Jahid Jahim asked the question on behalf of Hajiji as the latter had applied leave from the sitting.

Peter said the Sabah Railway Department is in the midst of conducting an initial study and preparing tender documents for Terms of Reference (ToR) study which is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

“The State Government has approved a RM1.5 million allocation under Mid-Term Review of the 11th Malaysia Plan as an initial funds to conduct the ToR study to be commenced next year.

“Physical works, based on the study findings, is expected to be initiated in 2021 and to be completed in 2024,” he said.

The Sabah Railway Department, he said, plans to improve the existing railroad and the new railway would provide a service on par with train services in the peninsula.

“As the project involves a big cost, the State Government has taken into consideration several options for funding such as Federal grants, soft loans as well as the involvement of the private sector,” he said.


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