Sabahans asked to be patient with damaged roads, Malaysian government cannot waive road tax for state
Sabahans have been asked to be patient with the damaged roads in the state, which connect Sandakan and Telupid if they want to continue to have toll-free roads, The Vibes reported Sabah deputy chief minister Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin as saying.
The deputy chief minister’s response follows frustration among road users in Sabah who ply the 6.4 km stretch of the route, after he announced that the road will not be repaired as the Pan Borneo Highway project is due for completion in two years’ time. The road users have asked for road tax to be waived until the new highway is completed, in light of the roads’ badly deteriorated condition.
The condition of the road has deteriorated to the extent that locals have been calling it the “moon road”, referring to its pockmarked surface. An allocation of RM256 million had been acquired for the repairs required for the road, but he had been advised that the repairs will only last a short time as the life expectancy of the road had expired in 2018, and requires reconstruction from its foundation, Bung Moktar said.
“Yes, this has become viral [on social media]. I am scolded by the people every day over this road. But I thinking wasting RM200 million on a road that will collapse again is a bad idea. So, I plead for the Sabahans to be patient,” he said.
At the same time, transport minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong said that the Malaysian government cannot simply waive road tax for Sabahans as the state generates RM3 billion from the revenue stream.
“I understand the Sabahans about this problem, but this involves the central government’s policy. We will re-discuss this issue with the Sabah government and the Sabah works department, [however] we understand, if Sabah requests [for the road tax waiver], Sarawak will be requesting too,” Wee said. At present, only the disabled are granted exemption from paying road tax, the transport minister said.