KUALA LUMPUR (March 4): The Cabinet has agreed to improve the execution of the Sabah and Sarawak Pan Borneo Highway, and to go ahead with the MRT3 Circle Line, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said.
For Pan Borneo Sabah, the Cabinet agreed to continue the implementation of 19 additional work packages involving 367km across five years, Ismail Sabri said in a statement after the Cabinet meeting on Friday (March 4).
The government also agreed to undertake the Sarawak-Sabah Link Road (SSLR) and the Trans Borneo Highway Project.
“Priority will be given to local contractors, particularly bumiputera, to generate business and job opportunities for Keluarga Malaysia.
“This will spur growth and economic development, particularly the government’s objective to continue strengthening the economic sector and to generate 500,000 jobs this year,” Ismail Sabri said.
Additionally, the Cabinet decided to increase the allocation for flood mitigation projects to RM15 billion for 2023 to 2030 — from RM1 billion per year initially planned under the 12th Malaysia Plan.
This follows the worst flood in decades seen in the country last year up until as recently as this week.
Updates on the Pan Borneo projects and the MRT3 have been much awaited by the local construction industry following an absence of newly-sanctioned large-scale projects in recent years.
However, the prime minister’s statement lacked details of the MRT3 project.
MRT Corp, which handles the MRT projects, had previously alluded to the possibility of tendering out contracts for the 50km MRT3 by August 2021 but this faced delays, including waiting for the government's nod for a proposed hybrid model that would require lead contractors to provide funding of up to 30% to circumvent the fiscal constraints faced by the government.
In February 2022, The Edge reported that a group of contractors were seeking to maintain the status quo in terms of participants of the MRT3 project as they had already invested in equipment such as tunnel boring machines and segmental box girder launchers.
In East Malaysia, development of Pan Borneo Sabah had been slow ever since the termination of the project delivery partner model in 2019. The Sabah state government now handles the project delivery.
Ismail Sabri said in his statement that Phase 1 of Pan Borneo Sabah is now 52% done, with full completion expected by October 2024.
Meanwhile, Phase 1 of Pan Borneo Sarawak comprising 786km is 78% complete, the prime minister added.