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By D’Drift Team
BALINGIAN, Oct 16: The waterfront and upgrading of jetties project will definitely give Balingian a much needed facelift as this small town is truly a great place to enjoy some laidback fishing.
There are plenty of jetties to cast a line along the canals and rivers, where one can sit back, relax, and wait for the fish or prawns to take the bait.
It’s a great place to get away from it all, to escape the humdrum and monotony of everyday routine and just letting the tranquil sights and sounds of nature rejuvenate the body, mind and soul.
With such great tourism potential especially for keen fishers, the D’Drift Team however observed that many of the jetties along the Batang Balingian river are dated and rundown, while some platforms are overgrown with vegetation and weeds.
The facilities here are in desperate need of a much needed upgrade to provide a safe, comfortable and appealing environment for anglers and visitors as well as to give an additional boost to tourism in Balingian.
Special officer to Balingian assemblyman Che Ghazali Arbi pointed out that the government has approved two jetty projects at two sites with a new jetty at the edge of Sungai Parit in Kampung Lintang and an upgrade for the old wooden jetty at Kampung Baru.
“Both projects are under the Rural Transformation Programme (RTP) by Balingian assemblyman Abdul Yakub Arbi.
“Construction has already begun at the new and major jetty in Sungai Parit, with land clearing works ongoing, while the one in Kampung Baru is awaiting the arrival of materials for the contractors to start work.
“The YB (Abdul Yakub) will try to get all the jetties upgraded gradually or in stages,” he explained as he escorted the team on a tour around some of the villages.
Balingian, he continued, is famous for its large and sweet freshwater prawns and river shrimps, and has always been an attraction for anglers.
“The villages are near the riverbank and local people just cast their fishing line into the river when they are free or bored. It is relaxing and enjoyable. Sometimes while going around to inspect work progress at all the project sites, I just stop by and rest a while at the jetty to reflect on things,” he admitted.
Seated at the old Kampung Baru wooden jetty, the team had the opportunity to briefly enjoy that same therapeutic experience.
The calm waters of the river, the soothing breeze and tranquility of the surrounding village is an ideal setting to slow down, enjoy the moment and let the world drift by.
Additionally, Ghazali emphasised that the ongoing construction of the waterfront or Batang Balingian Restoration Project near the old bazaar, costing RM5.5 million and funded by the State government, will also change the landscape of Balingian.
“It just started and will probably be completed some time next year. People welcome this project because when it is done, it will attract more visitors from outside.
“Balingian is in between Bintulu, Sibu and Mukah and (before the Covid-19 pandemic) people would normally visit on weekends just to savour the prawn noodles and sometimes crabs.
“The coffeshops here will be full. Some anglers also visit to try their luck with fishing,” he said.
Apart from fishing and prawn noodles, the 23-kilometre Batang Balingian is also a popular spot for a mini regatta which helps bring diverse Sarawak communities together through powerboat races and carnival.
Ghazali shared that they are also looking into revamping the homestay at the old bazaar in Kampung Pulat as well as proposals to build a “rumah rakit” (floating house) to enhance leisure tourism so that visitors can have a unique experience of Balingian.
The State government has also approved a number of projects to improve Balingian including the Balingian Sub-District Administration Office (RM5 million), Dalat and Mukah District Council (RM5 million), Anjung Selara Balingian (RM5 million), upgrading of Balingian Mini Stadium (RM5 million), Medan Selera Matadeng (RM5 million), upgrading of Balingian mini stadium (RM9 million), new Kuala Balingian Mosque and proposed Balingian Rest House or boutique hotel. — DayakDaily