Friday, October 14, 2011

Budget 2012: Where Are The Highways?

Highway projects in the last Budget has yet to kick off and the Prime Minister has announced 6 new highway projects in the new Budget 2012

In the recently announced budget for 2012, the Prime Minister has announced 5 new “high impact” highway and major road projects. They are:

  1. Lebuhraya Pantai Timur Jabor – Kuala Terengganu
  2. Lebuhraya Pantai Barat Banting – Taiping
  3. Lebuhraya Segamat – Tangkak
  4. Lebuhraya Central Spine
  5. Kota Marudu – Ranau Road

While we welcome the provision for new infrastructure projects, the credibility of these announcements are in doubt because even the 6 “high impact” highway projects which were announced in last year’s Budget 2011 speech, none had taken off the ground.

The highway projects announced last year are:

  1. Lebuhraya Bertingkat Ampang – Pandan – Cheras
  2. Lebuhraya Guthrie – Damansara
  3. Lebuhraya Damansara – Petaling Jaya
  4. Lebuhraya Pantai Barat (Banting – Taiping)
  5. Lebuhraya Sungai Dua – Juru
  6. Lebuhraya Senawwang - KLIA

In the Prime Minister’s lengthy written reply to my oral question yesterday – which asked on the status of the highway projects he announced in the previous budget, it was stated that the projects are still being evaluated and only some had received in-principle approval. The projects which have received in-principle approval by the Cabinet are still being studied by the various government agencies, and none of these projects have been awarded.

Besides the fact that a project – Lebuhraya Pantai Barat – was re-announced in the current Budget, it appears that the announcement by the Prime Minister has no tangible substance because the likelihood of the projects being implemented is actually questionable. If not even a single one of the “high-impact’ highway projects announced for 2011 is close to kicking off by October today, then surely the highway project announced in the current budget will see the light any time in the near future, if they ever kick off.

In fact it is completely irresponsible for the Prime Minister to be making announcement for projects where their viability are yet to be ascertained in the country’s financial budget. The Prime Minister’s reply to me on last year’s announcement did not even include an expected date for the projects to commence.

Datuk Seri Najib Razak must explain in parliament the reasons why the projects which have been announced last year have not even reached finalization stages, and whether these “high impact” highway projects announced this year are just part of a “wish list”, and not projects which have been thoroughly evaluated for commencement next year.
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