Fatimah keen to shed Oya’s ‘cowboy town’ image with commercial centre, waterfront

A screengrab of a jet skiing performance along the Oya River during Abang Johari's visit for the opening of the Melanau Heritage Gallery via Ukas' live broadcast.

By Karen Bong

OYA, May 28: A commercial centre, a waterfront, and an extension to the newly launched Melanau Heritage Gallery are among the requests from Dalat assemblywoman Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah to the Sarawak government as she seeks to change Oya’s ‘cowboy town’ image.

“These developments will change the landscape of Oya. ‘Sik mok’ (don’t want) cowboy town YAB Premier”, Fatimah said to Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg, who was present at the official opening of the Melanau Heritage Gallery at Oya Square, which was streamed live via Sarawak Public Communication Unit’s (Ukas) Facebook page today.

“It will draw visitors and tourists here because Oya has so much to offer from adventure, culture, and exotic food,” she emphasised.

On the proposed Oya Commercial Centre, Fatimah said the project estimated to cost RM9.3 million, will consist of a two-storey building with 12 strata commercial units, eight lots for cottage shop, a roofed multipurpose hall in the centre, and a carpark.

“There are no commercial shop buildings in Oya yet. However, we hope the facility will be made affordable for Bumiputeras, and as such, we would also like to ask for a subsidy so that the locals here can buy the shop lots later on,” she added.

Fatimah, who is also Minister of Women, Childhood and Community Wellbeing Development, also urged the government to top up funding for the construction of a new Dalat District mosque requested in December 2020.

“This is because there is no air conditioning, and we also want a special prayer room for women and children. So we are appealing for additional funding. She explained that the consultant had been asked to redesign the mosque and submit the proposal for approval,” she explained.

Other projects she touched on include a 62-room Dalat boutique hotel estimated to cost RM40 million and a mini State Complex at RM34 million to house the District Office, meeting room, assembly hall, Dalat-Mukah District Council (MDDM) Office, public library, bank, post office, Bumiputera Court, community leaders office, a surau, offices for Agriculture Department, Oya Area Farmers Association, Sarawak Rural Water Supply Department (BLAB), Public Works Department (JKR), and a nursery.

Later on, Abang Johari approved two projects; a second building as an extension to the Melanau Heritage Gallery and the waterfront, with a total cost estimated at RM42 million.

Deputy Minister of Women and Childhood Development Datuk Rosey Yunus, chief political secretary to Premier Fazzrudin Abdul Rahman, Daro assemblyman Shafiee Ahmad, and Balingian assemblyman Abdul Yakub Arbi were among those present. — DayakDaily