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RM3b Crocker Range tunnel awaits nod
Published on: Thursday, January 20, 2011
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Keningau: The district will be developed into a leading tourist destination in Malaysia with the construction of a RM3 billion tunnel penetrating the Crocker Range in the near future, if approved.Assistant Rural Development Minister, Datuk Hj Sairin Karno, said the proposed 54km tunnel will begin in Apin-Apin, Keningau and end in Kinarut, Papar.

Proposal for construction of the tunnel has been forwarded to Deputy Chief Minister, Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan and the Public Works Department, he said.

"Three months ago the Government approved construction of a bridge built over 78km from Kedah and Perak to the added cost of RM1.3 billion, while a recent project as far as 68km in Negeri Sembilan, costing RM700 million were also approved.

"Therefore, it won't be too much if the tunnel project in Keningau is approved by the Government, considering the fact that Sabah remains a 'Fixed Deposit' to the Barisan Nasional," said Sairin.

With the tunnel, there will be another significant landmark for tourist attraction in the country, and should there be water shortage in Kota Kinabalu, Keningau can supply water from the Pegalan river through the tunnel, he said again.

"It depends on the creativity of PWD to undertake construction of the tunnel because, although the construction cost is rather expensive, the results will benefit and profit the country greatly," he said.

Sairin, who is also Liawan Assemblyman, urged PWD to improve road conditions along Keningau-Kimanis as it is an important way of communication between Keningau and other West Coast areas.

"In meetings with the Deputy Chief Minister and also the PWD recently, we have recommended for the Keningau-Kimanis road to be upgraded so it is no longer so high and steep," he said.

Meanwhile, Sairin said the 10th Malaysia Plan will see a lot of development occur in this area including the construction of a UiTM in Sook, a UMS in Apin-Apin, a new hospital worth RM200 million and a religious boarding school worth RM55 million.

"Therefore, we will continue to be optimistic for the authorities to improve infrastructure in this area, especially electricity, in order for people in all areas may experience the life in a free country.

"I have often urged the Government to expedite the process of expanding the electricity supply to areas such as the 16th mile Keningau-Kimanis road because this area has high potential in attracting tourists to come here," said Sairin.


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