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MP welcomes plans to develop Tawau as border town to reap economic benefits from Nusantara

17 August 2022

By Wartawan Nabalu News

KOTA KINABALU: Tawau MP Datuk Christina Liew welcomed the State Local Government and Housing Ministry's plans to intensify the development of Tawau as a border town to reap socio-economic benefits in view of Indonesia's imminent relocation of its capital to East Kalimantan.

Last Friday, Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun had said that developing Tawau as a border town was seen to be better than building a new town, in an effort to gain economic benefits from the development of the capital city known as Nusantara.

"Now is the time to implement the plans. If not now, when? In this respect, we hope the Government means business. Masidi is right in saying that we just need to rebuild Tawau and make it a better place. Yes, we have basic facilities such as the airport, roads and water supply but the existing infrastructure is in dire need of improvement.

"Anyone can check the records. During the 10th Malaysia Plan (2011-2015), the then BN Government was talking about addressing Tawau's water woes, and today in the 12th Malaysia Plan (2021-2025), we are still discussing the issue because there is not much headway. We understand that the Tawau Dam that was launched in 2017 is scheduled for completion only in 2024.

"Similarly, the upgrading of the Tawau Hospital that was announced by a former Prime Minister in the 11th Malaysia Plan (2016-2020) is still under construction in the 12th Malaysia Plan (2021-2025). Tawau folks have been assured that it will be completed by the end of the year. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

"Sabah's road connectivity and air links must be improved for the state to tap the huge economic potentials of current development in the context of BIMP-EAGA (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia & the Philippines - East Asean Growth Area)," Liew said in a statement on Tuesday.

The former State Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment also concurred with Masidi that it is imperative for the proposed Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex to be built in Serudong, Kalabakan in Sabah (as an entry-point to Simanggaris, Kalimantan in Indonesia) for cross-border inspections.

At this juncture, Liew said she had inquired when the proposed Kalabakan-Serudong Road (Tawau) that will connect to the road leading to Simanggaris (Kalimantan) will be built to uplift the Malaysian border economy, during the Question and Answer session at the Parliamentary sitting last month.

"According to the Federal Minister of Works, his Ministry had raised the proposal for preliminary and design works for the road construction project from Kalabakan (Sabah) to the Malaysia-Indonesia Border (Simanggaris), for inclusion in the Rolling Plan 3 of the 12th Malaysia Plan (RMKe-12) for consideration of the Central Agency.

"However, he had also explained that approval for this proposed project is subject to the consideration of the Central Agency based on priority and the Government's financial position," she pointed out.

Liew, meanwhile, said she has consistently pushed for the expansion of the Tawau Airport and for its status to be upgraded to that of an international airport since 2018.

In March 2019, she led a delegation from her Ministry to the Federal Ministry of Transport to discuss the expansion proposal, considering that Tawau then topped the list of six airports in the country that had been earmarked for expansion and development.

"In June this year, I reiterated my call to the Federal Government to revisit Tawau's application for an expanded Tawau Airport," she added.


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