By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Aug 8: The Malay villages in Satok will be developed into a modern enclave that will blend modernity and traditional Malay heritage, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
The new enclave will cover Satok area, Jalan P.Ramlee and Jalan Datuk Taha until the Brooke Dockyard which will be transformed into a modern food court.
“This transformation is part of urban development taking place in Kuching. We are currently constructing Hikmah Exchange which will become a major commercial area at the junction of Jalan P Ramlee and Jalan Satok. It will lead to Kampung Masjid and Kampung Bintangor.
“The whole enclave will be developed so that it will have good amenities that can provide good services and tourism products in the area
“We have to take into account the fact that the area is rich in historical heritage. With the coming of Islam, we have the old mosque, which is now called Masjid Bandar Raya.
“And over here, we have the traditional villages. So, we will develop its infrastructure. This will enlarge the main Bazaar area. But it will not affect the old heritage and landmarks. This will lead to Jalan Haji Mataim and the rest of the villages here.
“That’s why we need to expand this (Bintangor) Bridge. This new bridge will be iconic so that it can attract tourists to come here and experience the traditional (Malay) life in this area,” Abang Johari told a news conference after making a site visit of the new RM50 million Sungai Bintangor Bridge at Jalan Ajibah Abol here today.
Abang Johari reiterated that the new bridge will be designed so that it will allow boats to pass through.
“So, water sports could be done here and we clean the river. That will become an activity area in this location because we already have the waterfront, whereby we can walk from the Brooke Dockyard right up to this village,” he said.
Abang Johari who is also Satok Assemblyman, hoped the local populace will also develop their own properties so as to keep pace with modernisation that takes place around them.
“We leave that to the villagers here. If they want to beautify their houses or to be redeveloped. Is up to them. I build infrastructure only. So, when the infrastructure is completed, this area will become compatible with other developed areas (in the city),” he said.
The Chief Minister also thanked the villagers for giving their cooperation for the construction of the new bridge.
Elaborating further, the Chief Minister pointed out that for Kuching City to grow as a modern cosmopolitan beyond 2030, it will have to be rejuvenated and renewed, whereby certain parts of the city have to be transformed and modernised.
“It will be an organic expansion of the present Kuching City and it will spread further to other parts of Kuching. We will not have too many high-rise buildings because unlike Singapore, we still have plenty of land,” he reiterated.
He said that the whole Kuching city will be affected by modernisation and transformation which will inevitability include its public transport system.
Meanwhile, Abang Johari said Sarawak will try to build modern bridges based on iconic concepts. These new bridges are the Limbang Bridge, Kemena Bridge, Batang Lupar Bridge, Mujong Bridge (in Baleh) and Rambungan Bridge.
“We will continue to improve the designs of our bridges,” he added.-DayakDaily