Husam: Public funds can reduce the cost of the four lane highway. Graphics by Dayang Norazhar/The Mole
KUALA LUMPUR: The ability of the Kelantan Government to fulfil its plans to revive the Kuala Krai-Kota Baru highway and make it toll free for the next 25 years is being questioned and these doubts arise from its inability to resolve the state's long-standing water woes.
In discussing the highway project, a blog post at mymassa.blogspot questioned the state government over the state’s water issue that has been unsolved for years due to contamination.
The blogger said the state should focus on solving its water issues first before making other promises.
State executive councillor for economic affairs Datuk Husam Musa who announced the revival of the highway project has however refused to be drawn into the ‘highway versus clean water supply’ arguments.
Husam brushed aside critics by saying that water supply was not under his portfolio.
Speaking to The Mole Husam said the state government has decided that state and public funds will be combined to cover the cost of constructing the RM1.7 billion highway.
The Kelantan Pas deputy commissioner said the cost of constructing the highway could be reduced with members of the public stepping in to bear part of the expenses.
“The construction of the highway has already begun and two main contractors which are Konsortium Temokin Vila Jelas JV Sdn Bhd and Menta Construction Sdn Bhd have been selected to do the job.
"We believe that the 73 kilometre highway will be completed in the next three years," said Husam.
In a news report earlier this week, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed had expressed doubts that the Kelantan government could build the highway.
“The state government has no track record of building and completing mega projects. I doubt this highway will take off,” Mustapa was reported as saying.
MCA Youth chief Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong said invoking the divine to solicit funds from the rakyat was actually a diversion tactic to cover up the Kelantan government’s failed administration.
Dr Wee said Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat has now resorted to telling the people of Kelantan that those who contribute to the toll and construction of the highway will be rewarded by God with pahala (divine merit for good deeds).
Blogger Syed Azidi Syed Abdul Aziz or also known as Kickdefella has also questioned Husam’s announcement, pointing that the Pas politician had a record of not keeping his word.
Kickdefella stated in his blog that Husam had on January 27, 2010 promised to form an independent audit to investigate the controversy surrounding the Bazaar Tok Guru scandal but has not done so until today.
Husam refused to comment when posed with issues raised by the Kickdefella, arguing that stating the blogger was an Umno supporter.
In August 2011, the Kelantan state government said it would take over the long delayed highway project that was first mooted by the Federal Government under the 5th Malaysia Plan (1986-1990).
The highway, with nine flyovers and two rest areas, was however put on hold following policy differences between the state and federal governments after Pas took control of the state government.