Sangan is a small town located in the district of Tatau in Bintulu division of Sarawak. The small population of 30,000 live comfortably in a lush, green and very rustic environment accessed by one main road from Bintulu. Bintulu division has a relatively low population density of only 14 people per kilometre compared with the Malaysia average of 86 people per kilometre.
With such a low population density, early development of the division focused around the coastal areas of Bintulu, however, the State Government has previously looked for ways to improve the accessibility and interconnectivity between Sangan and Kapit.
In 2013 the State Government announced the immediate development of a public road connecting Sangan to the town of Kapit, some 141 kilometres away. Moving quickly forward, the groundbreaking ceremony for the project was held on 27 April 2013 in Bintulu by the then Chief Minister, YAB Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud. The ceremony was also attended by a number of state dignitaries including Datuk Joseph Entulu Belaun, Deputy Minister of rural and regional development, and Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong, Minister for infrastructure and communication.
The road will be built in stages at a total cost of RM1.8 billion. Once completed, the new road will provide significantly improved connectivity for all the small communities in the rural towns in the area. Stage one of the project connects Sangan to Sungai Anap, a distance of 18.2 kilometres.
This ambitious project faces a number of challenges due to the hostile terrain, tropical heat and torrential downpours that can wash away a newly laid road and a rigorous construction schedule. The road traverses through thick jungles and hilly terrain, which must be cleared and allowed to settle before the road construction begins. This means that building a one-kilometre stretch of road can take twice or even three times longer than the average time needed to build a road on flat, less hilly land.
Aware of these challenges, Sarawak SCORE CEO Tan Sri Wilson Baya Dandot is closely monitoring the project and led a site visit to Sangan in September 2014 and was happy to see the progress made.