Hope for Sepanggar squatters
Published on: Sunday, April 15, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: Barisan Nasional Strategic Communications Director Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan said the squatter problem in Sepanggar, where he expected to stand as a parliamentary candidate in the coming election, is daunting."It's a bit of headache for us because the nature and geography of Sepanggar. But what I am going to do for the major squatter areas, those not having proper kampong status, we will resolve this because these are Malaysians staying there and strong supporters of the government.

"There needs to be a strong move to give them a final solution to their problems.

I am seeing the Chief Minister on Tuesday to resolve the issue of Kg Numbak, Kg Selambangun, Kg Kebagu, Kg Kuala Mengatal and some issue with the water supply at Lindung and Kg Batasan and other areas," he said.

Abdul Rahman, who is the caretaker Minister in the Prime Minister's Department in charge of the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) said the public in Kota Kinabalu must be willing to pay more to make the planned Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) public transport a success.

"No doubt KK requires efficient public transportation. The Government is concerned about increasing number of cars on road but having the idea alone is not enough. We need to do comprehensive studies on the public transport system.

"For Kota Kinabalu while the BRT is something we can do. We are on the verge of qualifying into a LRT city but it requires probably another 5-10 years to get the population to justify LRT. So it is really at the moment no longer a case about whether you want to do it but what kind (choosing which type).

"LRT is more expensive and the greater Kota Kinabalu (area) is not so big size wise so LRT may not be more efficient. I feel the best way is a BRT with a track that can be converted into LRT in the future.

But the cost is quite steep so there is an element of government subsidy.

"What I am saying to the people of Kota Kinabalu is if you want a world class transportation system the people must be able to invest with the government that is being able to pay slightly more than what they are paying at the moment because you will get clean comfortable and efficient buses."

He was speaking to reporters after officiating the Kemas4U Skills Education Carnival organised by Kota Kinabalu Kemas at the Likas multipurpose hall, Saturday.

Abdul Rahman said the Public Works Department (JKR) has shown him the alignment and at the moment its under study, the technical part of it.

"If its elevated it will cost more, if its on the ground its not as expensive."

He said the EPU has already commissioned a study to be out soon.

"We have given some preliminary numbers to the state government but the numbers are at the moment without the ability of the government to subsidise and the willingness of the people in Kota Kinabalu to pay higher, the idea is probably too daunting to execute.

"So there is an element of we can't be paying the level we are paying the mini buses now.

If the people are expecting that kind of fare than this idea of having an BRT may not work because its just too expensive. So we need to get the people to buy in, the stakeholder to understand what the issue are.

"If the people are willing to pay more for a more comfortable maybe air-conditioned clean buses then it is something doable.

"In fact I believe the BN state government will mention about public transportation in their manifesto to be unveiled soon."

When pointed out that the opposition have always highlighted that Penang have given free public air-conditioned bus transportation to the people and why Sabah can't do the same, Abdul Rahman said the Penang State government chose to offer the free transportation.

"Well they choose to have that. If you say its free, well someone has to subsidise (it).

You know we are giving so much to the rakyat. My point is that for Kota Kinabalu when we have a new public transportation in the future the people must understand they have to pay a little bit (more) premium to sustain the system." - Neil Chan


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