According to a report by The Sun Daily, the RM2.8 billion cost to reclaim land for the Pan Borneo Highway project in Sabah and Sarawak will be absorbed by the Government. Deputy Works Minister Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin said this includes resolving any disputes in acquiring the land.

“The cost to reclaim the land and to resolve problems on the said land for the total stretch of Pan Borneo Highway Sabah is estimated at RM2 billion whereas for Pan Borneo Highway Sarawak is RM800 million. These costs will be fully borne by the government,” she told the Dewan Rakyat recently.

She stated that the land reclamation process and compensation rates to the land owners will be done by the state governments through the respective land agencies. Compensation value will be based on the provisions in the existing land legislation that is Sabah Land Ordinance 1930 and Sarawak Land Code 1958.

“The land owners, who have the ownership documents, will receive compensation based on the assessment of the current real estate market prices. For the residents with land ownership based on the native customary house, the land compensation payment value including the cost of building structures and plantations, will also be made according to the current value determined by the state land department,” Rosnah explained.

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For squatters who operate their plantations on government owned lands, which will be used for the highway project, the state governments have agreed to consider ex-gratia payment as a form of compensation.

According to The Sun, the first phase of the Sabah section of the Pan Borneo Highway is expected to be fully completed by December 31, 2021. The highway will cover a distance of 706 km from Sindumin to Tawau. The Sabah stretch of the highway will cost RM13 billion, and construction will reportedly be divided into 35 packages that mostly includes upgrading of the highway into a four-lane, dual carriageway.

Meanwhile, the 1,090 km stretch in Sarawak will cost RM16 billion. The construction of the Sarawak section is divided into 12 packages and is also expected to be completed by 2021. When fully completed, the Pan Borneo Highway will reportedly span 2,239 km.