Baru : We only get half of funds needed to maintain federal roads

Works Minister Baru Bian.

KUALA LUMPUR: The works ministry does not get enough funds to maintain roads and highways, its minister Baru Bian said today.

Baru said the greatest challenge for him was maintaining 19,000km of roads, including more than 1,000km of highways.

“Every year, the ministry only receives less than half of the RM2 billion needed to maintain such infrastructure.

“We only receive between RM600 million and RM800 million.

“We have been asked to further reduce that.

“We have a 30% road maintenance backlog now.

“Every year, you build infrastructure and maintain them.

“If there is not enough money, then the backlog in maintenance increases from 30% to 40% or even 50%,” he said during a session at the “Malaysia: A New Dawn” conference today.

Baru said the ministry will be negotiating with the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) or the finance ministry for an increase in the funds.

He said the maintenance includes taking care of potholes, traffic lights and drain covers.

Affordable housing

Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin, who was present at the same session, said her ministry would seek feedback from the housing industry on the Bumiputera quota for affordable homes.

She said the new housing policy being drawn up looked at the income levels of housebuyers, rendering race irrelevant.

“Going by the new policy on affordable units, homes are categorised into three different categories, based on income.

“It does not matter who you are, what race you belong to. It doesn’t matter if you are a government servant,” she said in response to a question by a housing developer.