Sarawak Premier: Transforming Sibu into second Amsterdam ‘bukan main-main’

Abang Johari (third right) and Ting (second left) holding the Chinese calligraphy while Dr Sim (on Abang Johari's left) and others look on during a photo call at SMC CNY Open House on Jan 28, 2023. Photo credit: Ukas

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By Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, Jan 28: Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg has reasserted the government’s seriousness in transforming Sibu to be similar to Amsterdam in Netherlands.

Technically, he was referring to the fact that Amsterdam lies below sea level, while Sibu has a lot of low-lying areas that are prone to floods.

Therefore, he proposed that the Sarawak government develop Sibu by using the same technology used to develop Amsterdam.

“In Netherlands, Amsterdam is below the sea level but Sibu is below the river level. Then you have to really examine and get international experts to help us develop Sibu.

Ini bukan main-main (This is not a joke). Actually, I have allocated quite a substantial fund to initiate this urban renewal (project),” he said during Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) Chinese New Year open house broadcast live by Sarawak Public Communications Unit (Ukas) on Facebook today.

On July 1 last year, Abang Johari announced that Sibu would be like Amsterdam once the division has constructed its own picturesque canal system.

At the same time, Abang Johari informed that the project is part of the long-term Sibu Renewal Programme that will start with the development of Bukit Assek.

“This renewal programme will turn Sibu into a destination that is tourism friendly because you have all the products and the only thing is for us to properly plan for Sibu in view of the various factors within the parameters of developing Sibu. And we need expertise to assist us.

“If Singapore was originally a swampy island (and) Singapore’s former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew managed to transform Singapore to what it is today, there is no reason why we (Sarawak) cannot transform swampy Sibu,” he added.

Additionally, Abang Johari mentioned that Sibu would be connected to a new road through Batang Igan and up to Sarawak Coastal Road network as an alternative to the Pan Borneo Highway, have a new settlement around Kemuyang area right up to the road near Kampung Nangka, while the Bukit Lima Nature Reserve would be upgraded.

Among those present were Deputy Premier Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian and wife Datin Sri Enn Ong; Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah and wife Datin Sri Zuraini Abdul Jabbar; Deputy Speaker of Dewan Rakyat Alice Lau; deputy ministers and SMC chairman Clarence Ting Ing Horh. — DayakDaily