By John Isaac
FORMER Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said claims made by some quarters that Sarawak and Sabah were side-lined during his administration was untrue.
“This is not true and it is unfair because development in Sabah and Sarawak has been my priority when I was prime minister.
“There was a lot that we had to do after the two states were abandoned during the reign of the fourth prime minister (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad),” he said in a Facebook post as reported by the New Sarawak Tribune.
Najib said among the projects that were implemented during his time was the toll-free Pan Borneo Highway which is now delayed due to the former Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government after the 14th General Election.
He stressed that the project was different from the North South Highway implemented in West Malaysia where toll was imposed.
“When I was prime minister, we also planned so that Sarawak will become a state that is free from ferries and tolls.
“We finally achieved our goal as Sarawak was toll-free in 2016 as we abolished the tolls that was left by the fourth prime minister’s administration,” he said.
Najib said Sarawak was on track to become a ferry-free state with the completion of Batang Samarahan bridge in 2018, Batang Sadong bridge in 2016 and Pandaruan bridge linking Sarawak with Brunei in 2013.
“The ferry services at the three rivers were stopped and we had also approved allocations to build the Batang Lupar bridge, Rambungan bridge and Batang Igan bridge. This however was scrapped by PH.
“It is not true that I side-lined Sabah and Sarawak as the ‘Look to Borneo’ vision is very much my dream.
“Due to that, I focused on basic infrastructures before we can think of advanced projects such as a high-speed train which needs a higher population density,” he said.