KOTA KINABALU: Tongod, one of the poorest districts in the country, will be better connected to Sabah’s interior major town of Keningau via a new RM400mil road, says Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin.

The Deputy Chief Minister said the federal-funded road, under the 12th Malaysia Plan, would cut the distance from the current 315km to 200km upon completion in 2024.

Bung Moktar, who is also state Works Minister, said the road would link the area to more economic activities and develop its rural tourism potential.

“This will allow the people to travel directly to Keningau and with more people coming to visit the area, the local economy will improve,” he said during the groundbreaking ceremony for the project in Tongod yesterday.

Tongod is located in central Sabah along the Crocker Range that divides the east and west coasts of the state.

The Imbak Canyon Conservation Area is located in areas with other nature attractions, including waterfalls that could be tapped for tourism, he said.

Tongod is the largest Sabah district with an area of 10,054sq km. It is home to a population of about 42,000 people who are mainly ethnic Sungai native farmers.

Bung Moktar said the government had put in place various projects to uplift the standard of living of the people.

These included rural water and electricity supply projects, he said at the launch, which included a Hari Raya and Pesta Kaamatan celebration.