The 2-Year Plan to develop the remote borderland country in Kedah is off to a good start.
The 2-Year Plan to develop the remote borderland country in Kedah is off to a good start. Tunku Ismail, Mentri Besar of Kedah discusses with officials, and state and army engineers, progress of the biggest and most expensive item of the Plan, the 66 miles of roads which will open up an isolated area bringing schools, health and other services to a population long without contact or facilities.
A base camp has been carved out in the heart of the jungle. Most of the new roads are being built by engineers from both the Federation and Commonwealth Forces, with advice from the Public Works Department under the Supervision of the Chief Engineer, Federation Army. Malayans, British, Australian, and Gurkha Troops, all work side by side.
When explosives have blasted huge rocks and trees, bulldozers move in to clear a path for the roadmakers to work on.
Modern equipment speeds up the work, and overcomes the difficulties of terrain. But even the best of men and machines have a tough job, for the roads run through jungle and swamp, and often along precipitous hillsides.
There's plenty of labour from the nearby kampongs and Settlements and wherever possible local people are employed.
In the past, army engineers have built only bridges of a temporary nature, such as Bailey bridges. But here in Kedah, for the first time, construction of permanent reinforced bridges has been undertaken. Eight have already completed, and others started.
Very often work must go on around the clock, racing against time and the onset of the monsoon - as with this bridge for instance.
There's a new kind of road making machine being tried out by the army. It's an amalgamation of modern equipment and well-trained, traditional methods. Cements is poured into the trough, mixed with earth and spread evenly over the surface, and a set of pounders does the rest; stamping the mixture into the ground as natives feet have done in the past.
These new roads are indeed a unique contribution by the Forces, both federal and Commonwealth, bringing Government closer to a remote population living near the Kedah border.