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The Government is committed to ensuring a high quality of life in urban and rural areas in line with Malaysia’s aspiration to become a developed nation. This means that both urban and rural areas will be attractive to live in, with quality housing and services and a wide variety of leisure and cultural activities. It means that rural areas retain their distinctive characteristics while benefiting from well provided essential services. It also means that transportation is designed to move people, not vehicles, that everyone has access to quality healthcare and that people feel safe in their communities. Finally, it means that the environment is being conserved for future generations[1].

A good network of roads links which connecting rural villages to main road will be an essential development strategy in order to promote better national economic and social development.

Prime Minister, Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak in his budgetary speech 2009, announce the allocation of RM2.3billion in 2010 to construct and upgrade infrastructure in rural areas.

This is in line with The Improving Rural Basic Infrastructure (RBI) National Key Results Area (NKRA) agenda and initiative, where Government plan to build 1,500 km of rural roads.

35 per cent of Malaysians live in rural area, and eight per cent remaining unconnected by paved roads.

Ensuring access to basic infrastructure in rural areas ensures more equitable distribution of wealth, facilitates economic activity (e.g., road connectivity facilitates increased trade and commerce as it allows freer movement of goods and services, whilst the availability of electricity and water is essential for many types of industrial activity), and has a direct effect on national GDP. A widely-cited economic index puts the direct multiplier effect of infrastructure GDP spending at 1.5 times the expenditure[2].

The aspiration for 2012 is to construct more than 7,000 km of new and upgraded roads[3].


(Photo credit: cabreney.jm)

As part of this programme, Government will build approximately 1,900 km of roads in Sabah and Sarawak, about 70% of which will be paved and the rest gravel. As a result of the programme, an estimated additional 800,000 people will be connected to the roads network.

In Peninsular Malaysia, where nearly all of the population is already connected to the roads system, the focus will be on paving gravel roads in rural areas. When the programme is completed in 2012, close to 100% of the population in Peninsular Malaysia will live within five kilometres of a paved road.

Each and every road to be built and upgraded across the country in the programme has already been identified in detail – point of origin and destination, total length, width, material to be used, implementing agencies, people connected – to ensure that Government have taken all implementation considerations and challenges into account, and to optimise for on-time and in-budget delivery.

The Ministry of Rural and Regional Development (KKLW) is targeting to build 1,350 kilometres of rural roads throughout the country this year (2012). Out of the 1,350 kilometres of roads to be constructed, 462km would be built in the peninsula, 433km in Sarawak while the remaining would be built in Sabah[4].

The provision of roads, water and electricity has had a significant and positive effect on the growth of cottage industries, farming, transportation and healthcare in rural area.

According to the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) Annual Report published by the Prime Minister’s Department, the Rural Basic Infrastructure (RBI) National Key Results Area (NKRA) initiatives have directly impacted more than 3.2 million people in rural areas.

The report highlighted that under 2011’s roads delivery commitment all 1,013 km of roads were successfully completed by end December 2011[5] and most of these were implemented in Sabah and Sarawak (comprising some 54% of the national road length) considering the number or rural areas they have as compared to Peninsular Malaysia[6].

Better road for rural communities is required in order to improve the health and education of rural communities as better road access will shorten the travelling time to the health care centre and schools especially during the rainy season.

It also will boost business opportunities of the farmers as this will increase the production and shorten the distribution time of agricultural products to markets.

Building road the using conventional road construction method, will need huge amount of suitable quarry materials to be mined which will increase the carbon footprint emission to the environment.

Thus the priority will be given to the use of the green road approach in proving sustainable way of constructing rural roads.

Environment friendly construction techniques, participatory and decentralization approach, optimum utilization of local resources, simple technology, and self help efforts justified the green road approach as a best way of constructing rural roads in developing countries.

The soil stabilization techniques include stabilization with lime, stabilization with cement or stabilization with a combination of lime and cement[7].

Using an innovative soil stabilization method is one of the options. With soil stabilization, limited fresh natural materials and much less waste disposals are required.

Soil stabilization is the alteration of one or more soil properties, by mechanical or chemical means, to create an improved soil material possessing the desired engineering properties. Soils may be stabilized to increase strength and durability or to prevent erosion and dust generation. Regardless of the purpose for stabilization, the desired result is the creation of a soil material or soil system that will remain in place under the design use conditions for the design life of the project[8].

There are numerous methods by which soils can be stabilized; however, all methods fall into two broad categories. They are mechanical stabilization and chemical admixture stabilization.

Mechanical stabilization relies on physical processes to stabilize the soil, either altering the physical composition of the soil or placing a barrier in or on the soil to obtain the desired effect.

Chemical stabilization relies on the use of an admixture to alter the chemical properties of the soil to achieve the desired effect.

Chemical stabilization can be used to strengthen sub-grade and weak roads base. By mixing proper chemical or bio-chemical admixtures with soils, the chemical stabilization can improve the properties of soils in order to improve or control the volume stability, the strengths and stress-strain properties, permeability and durability. With the chemical stabilization, limited fresh quarry materials and much less waste disposals are required[9].

By mixing adequate proportion of stabilizers with in-situ soils, the stabilizers will improve the properties of soils such as the volume stability, strengths, stress-strain, permeability and durability. After strengthening the properties of the in-situ soils, it can be act like sub-base or base layer of the road as bound platform[10].

For rural road construction, in view of possible unavailability and inaccessibility of the sophisticated machineries, the construction methodology of in-situ soil stabilization can be modified, to cater for the working condition in rural areas, as well as using machines available as an alternative.


(this article written for 1BINA.my)

[1] 10th MP – Chapter 6 : Building An Environment That Enhances Quality Of Life

[2] A Second Quick Boost From Government Could Spark Recovery: comments by Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Economy.com. Edited excerpts of testimony he gave before the U.S. House Committee on Small Business on July 24, 2008

[3] GTP Roadmap – Chapter 10: Improving rural basic infrastructure

[4] BERNAMA, 18 January 2012. KKLW To Build 1,350km Of Rural Roads This Year.

[5] GTP Annual Report 2011

[6] The Sun Daily, 3 April 2012. Rural Basic Infrastructure NKRA Impacts More Than 3.2m Rural People

[7] Vedula, M., Nath G, P., & Chandrashekar, B. P.  A Critical Review Of Innovative Rural Road Construction Techniques And Their Impacts.

[8] Soil Stabilization for Roads and Airfields

[9] Lee, M., Tan, P. C., Daud, & Wu, D. Q. (2010, June). Green Approach to Rural Roads Construction – Stabilization of In-Situ Soils And Construction Wastes. Presented at The 7th Asia Pacific Conference on Transportation and the Environment, Semarang, Indonesia, 3 – 5 June 2010

[10] Daud, D., Tan, P. C., Lee, M., & Wu, D. Q. Green & Quality Rural Roads in Malaysia.