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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, March 14: The state government will build a waterfront to enhance eco-tourism opportunities in the heritage town of Siniawan to benefit the local communities.
Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said since Siniawan is located on a riverbank, this small town in Bau district, about 20km away from Kuching City, should make use of the river to draw in more tourists.
“Siniawan is already a popular destination, especially for its weekend night market and rich historical background of the town. To make Siniawan more attractive, we have to improve the infrastructure here,” said the chief minister.
“As such, we will build a waterfront in Siniawan to create an attraction like Perth’s Fremantle, where visitors can take a boat ride to enjoy the laid-back atmosphere and scenery.”
Abang Johari was at the ‘Gathering with Leaders’ in Siniawan Community Hall last night (March 13). The event was held in conjunction with the Chinese New Year celebration for Serembu constituency.
He visualised locals and tourists taking a boat ride from Kuching Waterfront to Siniawan Waterfront, which would pass under the Satok Bridge and the Tan Sri Sulaiman Daud Bridge.
“Then they can explore this town that still maintains its original, rustic wooden townhouses, which is a reminiscent of a typical American ‘cowboy town’, before returning to Kuching city by road.
“The local players should also create more activities for tourists to experience and do, such as horse riding. Let visitors put on a cowboy hat and venture into this little town to marvel at its rugged beauty and warm hospitality,” he suggested.
With the vast potential of eco-tourism opportunities to offer within Serembu area, including Tasik Biru and Lundu to Sematan, Abang Johari, thus, emphasised the need to upgrade and improve the infrastructure and facilities.
To this end, he said the state government would propose for the upgrading of the over 20km old Bau road to be included in the 12th Malaysia Plan (2021-2025).
“It would be undertaken by the Public Works Department (JKR), and I will ask JKR to plan the upgrade of the roads, which is estimated to cost about RM100 million. With road connectivity improved, the economic stimulus will be better,” he reckoned.
He also encouraged owners of Native Customary Rights (NCR) land in the area to optimise land use with agricultural activities and contribute to food production for the state.
Abang Johari reiterated that the state government under Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) would continue to pursue the reinstatement of Sarawak’s rights that had been eroded.
“We are now in the midst of discussing the reinstating of our eroded rights following Putrajaya’s decision to amend Article 1 (2) of the Federal Constitution to restore Sabah and Sarawak’s status as equal partners.
“While other provisions are being discussed, rest assured that four matters remained non-negotiable, namely immigration, land, boundary including continental shelves, and natural resources. We cannot surrender these four items,” he added while emphasising that only Sarawakians can protect Sarawak and its rights.
Meanwhile, at the gathering, there was a presentation of Special Development Assistance Fund (SDAF) for eight projects and also Bumiputera (Warisan) Communal Reserve Gazette for Gunung Muan/Bukit Peninjau, Bau.
Abang Johari’s wife, Datin Patinggi Datuk Amar Juma’ani Tun Tuanku Bujang; Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas; Minister of Local Government and Housing Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian; Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jwong; Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah; Minister of Utilities Dato Sri Stephen Rundi Utom, Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports Datuk Snowdan Lawan, Assistant Minister of Corporate Affairs Abdullah Saidol, Serembu assemblyman-cum-organising chairman Miro Simuh, and community leaders were among those present. — DayakDaily