Sabahans were further enraged after the state Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin told the people to remain patient with the damaged roads connecting Sandakan and Telupid if they want to enjoy toll-free roads.
Nonetheless, he also reminded that the roads in the state are toll-free.
“Sabah is unique. We want our roads to be built fast. I can give that to the contractor but we have to pay a toll. Sabahans don’t want to pay the toll. If this is free, then we must wait,” he was quoted as saying by The Vibes.
There had been massive public complaints about the pothole-strewn 6.4km stretch of road connecting Sandakan and Telupid.
In March this year, the deputy chief minister announced that the state government will not be repairing the road as the Pan Borneo Highway project will be completed in two years.
His remarks have since met with backlashes from Sabahan road users as they demanded for the road tax to be waived until the new highway is completed.
Sandakan – Telupid – KK, auto joget dalam kereta https://t.co/nE8dRZVhwS— Mohammad Rajja (@Mohd_Rajja) June 3, 2022
Meanwhile, the old road’s condition has deteriorated so much that locals have been calling it “jalan bulan” (moon road), as it resembles the pockmarked surface of the moon.
In May, Bung said the Sabah state government had acquired an allocation of RM256 million to repair the damaged road but he was advised that the improvement will only last for a short time as the road’s life expectancy has expired in 2018 and it needs to be reconstructed from its foundation.
“Yes, this has become viral (on social media). I am scolded by the people every day over this road. But I think wasting RM200 million on a road that will collapse again ‘the next day’ is a bad idea. So, I plead for the Sabahans to be patient,” he said.
The Telupid road is shit. And Bung Moktar is an ayam Telupid.— Iffah Ismail (@SeriouslyIffah) June 7, 2022
Also present at the press conference was Transport Minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong and he explained that Putrajaya cannot simply waive road tax for Sabahans seeing that it generates a revenue of RM3 billion.
“I understand the Sabahans about this problem, but this involves the central government’s policy. We will re-discuss this issue with the Sabah government and Sabah Works Department; but we understand, if Sabah requests, Sarawak will be requesting too,” Wee said.
He added that only the disabled are given exemption from paying the road tax as of now.
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