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Proposed Trans-Borneo Railway will boost island’s economy, says Hajiji

Mooted project aims to link Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei, Kalimantan

KOTA KINABALU – The proposed Trans-Borneo Railway linking Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei and Kalimantan in Indonesia will be an economic catalyst to the Borneo region, said Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.

He said once materialised the project would be impactful to enhance people-to-people connectivity and boost the economy in the region.

“Economically, it will facilitate trade, promote growth of industries at the border areas and boost tourism in the Borneo region,” he said in a statement here today.

The statement said that last November, federal Works Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi said his ministry had received a preliminary proposal on the Trans-Borneo Railway project.

Nanta said the idea for this mega-railway linking Sarawak and Sabah and eventually connecting to Kalimantan came from the Transport Ministry and the federal government had approved a financial allocation specifically to carry out a feasibility ground study on the Trans-Borneo Railway routes involving the Sarawak-Sabah side.

Brunei-based Brunergy Utama Sdn Bhd announced it would be embarking on the Trans-Borneo Railway project, which it proposed to be implemented in two phases involving routes spanning 1,620km, the statement said.

The first phase will connect cities from the west to the east coast, beginning in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, and ending in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah while the second phase will involve North and East Kalimantan connecting the main route with Samarinda and to the new capital of Indonesia, Nusantara.

Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister III Datuk Shahelmey Yahya said the Sabah government had not been officially informed regarding the announcement by a private company from Brunei of its intention to implement the first high-speed train network project in Borneo that will also involve Sabah.

According to the state works minister, the state government only knew about it based on media reports.

“Only for the Trans-Borneo train, as informed by the Transport Ministry, a feasibility study will be carried out first this year,” he told reporters here today.

He said this when asked about a news report on an announcement by a company from Brunei regarding the Trans-Borneo Railway project – Borneo’s first high-speed bullet train network connecting Brunei, Sabah, Sarawak and Kalimantan.

According to the company’s official website, the proposed project will be carried out in two phases involving 1,620km.

He said there had been a few proposals from various parties, including China and India, to implement the railway network in the state, but they were still at an early stage.

“The Sabah state Railway Department is now more focused on the feasibility study to re-establish the route from Tg Aru-Sembulan to Sepanggar Port,” he said. – Scoop

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