KIULU: In the recent, highly publicised visit to Pukak, Kiulu, the Prime Minister, opted to make the trip by helicopter, a decision which was very puzzling and disappointing to the people here.
Terence Sinti, a Kiulu resident and chief of the Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) for the constituency, suspects that the State UMNO/BN leadership made the transport arrangement to ensure Najib Razak would not have to see the deplorable condition of the roads to Pukak.
“Normally the Public Works Department (JKR) would seal the roads to be passed through by the PM, but in the case of the visit to Kiulu, the cost would have been too much to bear,” Sinti said in a statement.
“A simple make-over sealing would also not hide the pathetic conditions of the narrow roads and the miserable sights of the houses and villages of the Kiulu people.”
The STAR’S Wiramuda (Youth) Chief described Pukak as being only 45 kilometres from Kota Kinabalu and if the road condition was similar to the one in remote Lojing, Gua Musang, Kelantan, the trip would have taken only 25 minutes.
“Instead the road trip to Kiulu takes one hour, or more, hence another reason to take the 15-minute helicopter flight. In Lojing the four-lane roads are straightened by pillars crossing valleys instead of having to wind around hill slopes,” he pointed out.
Sinti said the people of Kiulu were deeply disappointed that the PM and the State leaders decided to shield Najib from seeing the stark reality of bad road conditions, landslides and poverty in Kiulu by opting for a ride by air.
He added that he believes the Chief Minister also wanted to hide from Najib, the failure of Sabah BN in developing Kiulu.
“It would have also exposed that the Kiulu assemblyman and the Tuaran Member of Parliament, who is incidentally a Federal Minister and meets the PM every week during Cabinet meetings, were probably sleeping on the job,” Sinti remarked.
“If Najib had seen the Kiulu-Pukak road first-hand and if he is genuinely serious in bringing development and care for the welfare of Sabahans, he would have immediately allocated RM500 million to build several new bridges to upgrade the Tamparuli-Kiulu-Pukak road.
He claimed such bridges over the deep valleys would not only shorten the travelling distance but would also reduce the dangers of travelling on the winding road and long-neglected landslides at several sections of the Kiulu road.
Sinti said that whatever the reason behind the decision to fly, UMNO/BN unwittingly had caused the people of Kiulu to feel more resentment against the BN and given them more reason to vote for the opposition in the coming GE14.