Sarawak urges Putrajaya to reconsider 5 deferred tourism-related projects

Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah

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KUCHING, July 16: Sarawak is urging the federal government to reconsider its decision to defer five tourism-related projects that were important to the state.

Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah told the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) today that these five projects were under the second rolling plan of the 11th Malaysia Plan and were worth about RM31 million. They had been planned but not awarded.

The five projects that had been put on hold are the development of eco tourism for Kuching Wetland National Park, Baram Waterfront, Belaga Waterfront, upgrading of Panchor Hotspring in Serian, and upgrading of tourism facilities at Gunung Serembu in Bau.

“We have written to them, seeking for the federal side to reconsider their decision as these projects have gone through meticulous planning and are considered growth catalysts for our tourism sector,” Abdul Karim said.

Acknowledging the important contribution of the tourism sector to the state’s economy through the private sector, Abdul Karim said the state government, through its Socio-Economic Transformation Programme, had approved 15 Key Result Area (KRA) projects and programmes worth RM59.16 million this year.

“Out of the 15, seven are physical projects, while eight are programmes. A total of RM13.5 million has been spent in 2017, while the balance will be utilised in 2018 and 2019,” he said

The current ongoing physical projects are the upgrading of tourism infrastructure and facilities at Wind Cave, Fairy Cave, Kuching Waterfront areas and Kuching Heritage Trail.

Others include construction of a walkway in front of the DUN building to connect the pedestrian bridge with Fort Margherita and upgrading the jetty near Santubong bridge to cater for the Kuching Wetland visitors, anglers and divers.

“In developing tourism products, related studies are currently being conducted. They are the conversion of Brooke Dockyard into a Maritime Museum, conversion of the old DUN building into a performing arts centre, construction of a Gold Mine Museum and Park in Bau and transformation of the old Miri Resident Office into a cultural and heritage centre,” he added. — DayakDaily