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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Nov 27: Sarawak government is planning to build a bridge connecting the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) area to Tanjung Bako and link towards Samarahan.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the state also looking to build a road that will link the Kuching Isthmus side of Petra Jaya to Samarahan.
“The bridge will be an iconic bridge that will give a new environment along the area surrounding BCCK,” he addressed the guests at the 10th anniversary celebration of BCCK this evening.
“The next five years will be very busy for Sarawak with the start of the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) and this will definitely give value to BCCK, particularly attracting more events and visitors,” he added.
Noting that tourism is a very important to the state economy, Abang Johari reiterated that it was one of the sectors that the state will give emphasis under the 12MP.
The state will invest a substantial amount to develop and improve the tourism and services sector with upgrading of tourism products including national parks, notably Bako, Semenggok and Niah Cave, he said.
“For this reason, a Wildlife Department was formed, which is separated from the Forest Department, to supervise and manage the national parks.
“With new discovery of early human settlement of some 60,000 years in Niah Cave, the state government is attempting to list it as a Unesco heritage area,” he continued.
Abang Johari said the state government is going to set up a performing arts centre by transforming the old State Legislative Assembly (DUN) with state-of-the-art facilities.
“This will definitely attract art lovers to come over to Sarawak and for us to stage arts related events,” he added.
As for the newly completed Sarawak Museum Campus, he added that the soon-to-be largest and well stock museum in Southeast Asia will be opened sometime early next year.
Abang Johari said other initiatives in the pipeline to enhance the tourism sector included the building of the Rambungan Bridge to link Pantai Damai-Lundu-Sematan, preserving the traditional surrounding along the Heritage Trail, as well as upgrading digital infrastructure and public transportation to ensure visitors are well connected.
On air connectivity, the chief minister expressed optimism that Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah will solve the problem in a couple more years, with aggressive engagement with relevant parties ongoing now.
Congratulating BCCK for its achievements in the past 10 years, he said the convention centre has been instrumental in contributing to the economy and local community of Sarawak.
BCCK chairman Datuk Raziah Mahmud-Geneid said to date, the convention centre has contributed a value of over RM92 million to Sarawak local supply chain network since its creation in 2009. BCCK has also directly contributed to Sarawak’s tourism receipts amounting to RM7.95 billion.
Since its inception, the centre has hosted over 1,800 events and welcomed over 2.4 million clients and delegates from around the world.
Abang Johari’s wife Datuk Amar Juma’ani Tuanku Bujang and Deputy State Secretary Datu Ik Pahon Joyik were present. — DayakDaily