RM260mil federal funds to deepen Sarawak River

KUCHING: The Federal Government has allocated RM260 million for dredging of the Sarawak River for bigger vessels to call at Kuching Port.

Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said the project would be implemented in stages with RM50 million being spent this year.

He looked forward to Kuching Port becoming a greater international port in the future.

Sarawak’s state minister for infrastructure, Michael Manyin, said the Sarawak River could only take vessels of between 4m to 7m draft, which was far below the international standard.

He said once dredging work was completed the river bed would be at a depth of between 12m-14m.

The state government had agreed to meet the RM10 million annual cost of maintenance, he told reporters at a press conference with Liow.

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

He said earthworks had been completed, with the first phase of the project expected to be completed in July this year.

On rural air services in Sabah and Sarawak, Liow said MasWings had been granted a contract extension 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.

He also said Kuching International Airport would soon have a second approach lighting system for its runway, costing about RM5 million.

An open tender would be called next month and installation would start in August for completion in July next year.


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