TUARAN – Tourism in Sabah, particularly in Kiulu near here and the surrounding areas, is set to get a boost once the Telipok-Kiulu-Randagong Highway is opened, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
The Prime Minister said the highway, which would provide for safer and more comfortable travel as the people aspired for, would also serve as a catalyst for tourism development in Kiulu, which was known for its natural beauty.
“The focus of the state government on rural tourism under the guidance of Datuk Joniston Bangkuai as chairman of the Sabah Tourism Board is most apt.
“Even without this highway, Kiulu has been able to record about 53,000 tourist arrivals annually. I am confident the number of (annual) tourist arrivals will rise to over 100,000.
“This will help raise the income of the local people, what more when other amenities are also provided,” he said while taking a closer look at the progress of the highway in Kampung Pukak, Kiulu, near here.
Najib said that as the leader of the Barisan Nasional government, his attention to the people of Sabah was a manifestation of the BN government approach of always fulfilling what was promised to the people.
He said he was different from a previous prime minister who, despite being in power for 22 years, paid little attention to Sabah.
“This road here was proposed in the Seventh Malaysia Plan (1986-1990) when that person was the prime minister. Today, he has offered himself to be the prime minister again. This road has been approved during my time as the prime minister,” he said.
Najib said that what he did for Sabah and the country was not for his own interests but for the purpose of taking Sabah and the country forward to a more developed level.
“What we are doing here in Kiulu is the foundation for the future. All of you are on the verge of a great change and we can achieve that provided we give our undivided support to the BN,” he said.
Najib also reiterated his promise to restore the rights of Sabah as contained in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
He also dismissed claims by certain quarters that the country was bankrupt, saying if that was true the government would be unable to implement multi-billion ringgit mega projects such as the Pan Borneo Highway in Sabah.
“Can a bankrupt country build the RM18-billion Pan Borneo Highway from Sindumin, Sipitang, to Tawau, a distance of 1,200 kilometres without toll collection?” he asked.
On the latest allocations approved for the Tuaran parliamentary constituency, Najib said RM2.2 million had been approved for mosques and surau and RM2.5 million for a hall of the St John Church Tuaran.
Najib said he would also upgrade 22 kilometres of road in the Tuaran parliamentary constituency and provide allocations for a survey of customary land during the term of the new government (after the general election). – BERNAMA