The pan-Borneo Highway. Pic Sam/Flickr

The pan-Borneo Highway. Pic Sam/Flickr

The Pan-Borneo highway project costs has overrun by RM5 billion and shorter by 328km even before the highway project even kick-off according to Sarawak DAP chairman.

Citing written answer in parliament in 2013 by the Ministry of Public Works, Chong Chieng Jen said the full length of Pan Borneo is 2,239 km, out of which, 248 km has 4 or 6 lanes, while the remaining 1,991 km is still single carriageway.

The Highway Network Development Plan (HNDP) report in 2010 stated the total costs to upgrade the full stretch of Pan-Borneo highway into dual-carriageway was estimated to be RM22 billion.

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In his budget speech Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said that the government intends to start construction of the 1,663-km Pan-Borneo Highway comprising 936 km in Sarawak and 727 km in Sabah at a total construction cost of RM27 billion.

“If one were to compare the answer given by the Public Works Minister in Parliament in 2013 and the figure stated in the 2015 Budget speech of Najib, it is shocking to note that the stretch of Pan Borneo Highway that will be upgraded has shortened by 328 km, but the costs of construction has increased by RM5 billion!” Chong said in a statement.

“Why, within a short span of 4 years, the roads shortened by 320 km but the costs increased by RM5 billion (22%),” he said.

Chong said the Prime Minister has yet to announce when the project kick-off and no details yet as to whether it will be a toll road?

“The Government has already had the intention to upgrade the Pan Borneo Highway in 2011. Why is it that 4 years later, in 2015, the Government still remains at the stage of “intends to” but not committed to,” Chong asked.

Highways being built in the country often over-priced which resulted in millions of road users end up paying exorbitant toll rates said Chong citing the construction of North-South Highway in west Malaysia.

DAP Sarawak however said they fully supports the construction and upgrading of the whole length of Pan Borneo Highway into dual carriageway.

“However, such development should not bring along additional burden to the people,” said Chong who is also Bandar Kuching MP.