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Federal Govt Allocates RM260 Mln For Sarawak River Dredging

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KUCHING – The federal government has allocated RM260 million for the Sarawak River dredging project to enhance better access to Kuching Port.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the dredging effort would also provide better connectivity in enabling bigger vessels to berth at the port.

He said the project would be implemented in stages with RM50 million being spent this year.

“I can foresee that Kuching Port will be a greater international port in the future with more shipping activities,” he told a press conference on arrival for a visit to the state this morning.

Meanwhile, Sarawak Infrastructure Development and communications Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin who was present at the press conference said the Sarawak River is at present only between four to seven metres deep, which is far below the international standard.

He said once the dredging work is completed it would be at a depth of between 12 to 14 metres.

Manyin said the state government had agreed to take care of the RM10 million annual maintenance cost.

Liow also announced a RM341 million project to transform Mukah Airport into a full-fledged commercial facility to cater for larger aircraft.

He said earthworks for the project had already been completed.

The first phase of the project is expected to be completed in July this year.

On rural air services in Sabah and Sarawak, Liow said it was operated by MasWings, and had already been extended for another seven years from 2018.

“The federal government has approved RM190 million in annual subsidies for the service. The present contract ends in 2017,” he added.

Meanwhile, Liow said the Kuching International Airport (KIA) will soon have one more simple approach lighting system for its runway and costing about RM5 million.

He said at present, there was only one approach lighting system at the KIA and with the installation of another, it would be more convenient and safe for aircraft to land, and at the same time, optimise its usage.

He said there would be an open tender next month for the system and installation would start in August for completion in July 2017. – BERNAMA

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