The goodies continued to flow out during the tabling of the Malaysia Budget 2020, with the national road and public transport also receiving some allocations. Finance minister Lim Guan Eng announced that the government will dole out a total of RM1 billion for the upgrading of rural roads in Malaysia, including RM326 million for Sabah and RM224 million for Sarawak.

He also confirmed that the government remains committed to completing the Pan-Borneo Highway, but the ongoing cost rationalisation has so far managed to relieve RM1.2 billion from the project cost. This, said Lim, has allowed for the planning of more projects to spur economic growth, including a 165 km Trans-Borneo Highway to connect Sabah and Sarawak to Eastern Kalimantan.

Elsewhere, the federal government has also set aside RM4.85 billion of funds from the Malaysia Road Record Information System (MARRIS) for all state governments to maintain and upgrade roads, which was not allowed under existing guidelines. Each state is able to upgrade roads, slopes, bridges and drains utilising up to 15% or RM20 million of those funds, whichever is lower.

Meanwhile, to reduce congestion on the Johor Causeway and Second Link, the government will invest RM85 million to improve vehicle and traffic flow through the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex (CIQ). This will include the opening of an additional 50 counters for motorcyclists, as well as the streamlining of immigration and PLUS counters.

Another RM50 million will be used to maintain and upgrade the roads to Port Klang, as part of efforts to turn it into a regional maritime centre and cargo logistics hub. The transport ministry will also conduct feasibility studies on the Serendah-Port Klang Rail Bypass for cargo shipments and the Klang Logistics Corridor highway connecting Northport and Westport for commercial vehicles, both expected to cost RM8.3 billion.

As for public transport, the government plans to spend RM450 million to purchase up to 500 electric buses of various sizes, which will be used in selected cities. It will also allocate RM146 million to subsidise bus operators for last-mile transportation in rural and urban areas.

Last but not least, the Rapid Transit System (RTS) between Johor Bahru and Singapore will indeed proceed, in order to further reduce causeway congestion. The government is also proud of its initiative to introduce My50 and My100 monthly travel passes providing unlimited rail and bus travel, which Lim said has benefitted more than 120,000 users so far.

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