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By Chris Lidom and Ashley Sim
KUCHING, Aug 6: “Jangan alang-alang (Don’t be half-hearted). If it costs billions of ringgit, we will find a way to get those billions of ringgit,” says Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg today.
He was referring to the restructuring of Sibu’s development to turn it into a modern town.
According to Abang Johari, based on a preliminary study, under the Post-Covid-19 Development Strategy (PCDS) 2030, the restructuring of Sibu will go beyond 2035.
He pointed out that, with all the plans going on, it means there will be many economic activities happening.
“You should not expect what I said today, tomorrow Sibu will change, it is not possible. Rome was not built in one day.
“We will develop Sibu into a modern town with its own character,” he said during the ‘Majlis Makan Malam Pemimpin Bersama Komuniti Sibu’ streamed live via Sarawak Public Communications Unit’s (Ukas) Facebook page today.
The Premier also mentioned that several areas, including Bukit Assek and various housing estates, are waterlogged.
“The town sits on peat soil, so its water level must be properly managed,” he said, adding that the State government is seeking the advice of experts from the Netherlands, Belgium, and Singapore, which have successfully managed waterlogged areas.
He also stated that, in addition to the redevelopment of Bukit Assek, changes in the Sibu landscape will include the redevelopment of Kampung Datu, which is now in the final stages of implementation.
Furthermore, Abang Johari stated that, in addition to government funding, the public and private sectors must participate in the restructuring of Sibu’s development process, as much construction work, including the construction of tunnels and lakes, will take place.
He explained that there is an economic return once the development is completed.
“Sibu will have to be a modern town to attract investors and tourists. A modern Sibu will have a spill-over effect on the upriver town of Kapit and downriver town of Sarikei.
“Timber was once the main economic activity in Sibu, but today, it is no longer the case because the State government does not allow logging activities to conserve forests for future carbon trading.
“So we have to find a solution for Sibu to replace timber as the core economic activity,” he said.
The Premier continued, “Apart from that, this will also need cooperation from the people of Sibu because if this matter is politicised—for example, the government taking the land for restructuring purposes—there should not be somebody fanning it as an issue.
“That is the problem now, but I am firm and as long as I am the Premier, I want to restructure Sibu into a better place.”
Additionally, Abang Johari stated that a state coordinating committee meeting will be held tomorrow to discuss the town’s restructuring.
Among others present at the event tonight were Abang Johari’s wife, Puan Sri Datuk Amar Juma’ani Tun Tuanku Bujang; Deputy Premier of Sarawak Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian and his wife Datin Sri Enn Ong; Sarawak Deputy Minister for Education, Innovation, and Talent Development (Higher Education and Innovation) Datuk Dr Annuar Rapaee; and Sarawak State Secretary Datuk Amar Mohamad Abu Bakar Marzuki. — DayakDaily