KOTA KINABALU: A Sabah ruling politician today deflected a question on the proposed RM5.2 billion railway link to Kudat, asking the Warisan-led government whether the project fits the state’s direction.
Opposition assemblyman Joniston Bangkuai (PBS-Kiulu) also asked state Infrastructure Minister Peter Anthony (Warisan-Melalap) if the project could be postponed considering that the Pan Borneo Highway project will also cover the northern districts.
Joniston said the funds could be used on rural infrastructure.
Anthony then raised what he called “unnecessary projects” by the former Barisan Nasional government, citing the Sabah International Convention Centre.
“Maybe you have forgotten about the convention centre, which cost over RM1 billion
“You did not question its construction then. It was not even necessary. But now you are questioning the Kota Kinabalu-Kudat railway link,” he said.
He said the railway line would complement the government’s plan to build one of the largest ports in Southeast Asia in Limau-Limauan (Kudat).
Anthony, who is also Warisan vice-president, said it was time that the northern districts of Kota Belud, Kota Marudu and Kudat had a proper public transportation system.
If Kuala Lumpur could have an extensive transportation system, “what’s wrong with building a railway that can benefit Sabah?” he asked.
Joniston then asked Anthony if he felt the railway project was more important than improving rural infrastructure.
Anthony responded by saying that he had travelled throughout Sabah to inspect the state of rural infrastructure, unlike his predecessor.
“All the ministers now are hardworking,” he added.
“So if you accuse us of not improving the rural roads, then I think you did not come to our briefing in Tuaran the other day.”
Anthony earlier said that RM2 million has been set aside for a 12-month feasibility study on the Kudat railway project, which takes off next year.
He also blamed the previous government for the weaknesses in Sabah’s rail network.
“When I took over as the minister, I visited the tracks from Kota Kinabalu to the end in interior Tenom. It’s true we have a big problem but who caused this? It is by the previous government, not the present,” he said.