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By Peter Sibon
SIBU, March 6: Sibu will have an outer ring road to facilitate the rapid physical development of the town, announced Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg here today.
“What we need next to further develop Sibu is to build the Sibu outer ring road. Then we can expand the town further out with better road connectivity,” he said in his keynote address at a dialogue session with Sibu businessman organised by Sarawak Chamber and Commerce and Industry (SCCI) (Sibu Region).
The chief minister added that for Sibu to prosper, the state government would also resurface the whole Sibu road network to provide smoother rides.
“I agree with the suggestion that we have to resurface all of Sibu roads. Just now, from the airport to reach this hotel, the road was bumpy, as if we are out at sea during the landas (rainy) season.”
He told those present that he had disbursed the allocation to build a road connecting Sibu Jaya to Salim, which is linked to Lanang area. Lanang itself is already linked to Sarikei.
With better road connectivity between Sibu and Sarikei, where the food hub is located, agricultural produce such as vegetables and fruits could be easily transported to Singapore and other regional markets in the region.
Abang Johari also gave assurance to the people of Sibu that Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) would look after its development, just like in other parts of the state.
“That’s why we are spending a huge amount of money for infrastructure development to build the coastal road, including three major bridges at a total cost of RM6 billion. When the bridges are completed, it will take only three-and-a-half hours’ drive from Kuching to reach here,” he enthused.
The chief minister reiterated that Sibu’s strategic location in the central region would continue to play a crucial role as a transportation hub for the whole region.
“Sibu has thrived since the time of the timber industry. But now that timber has been depleted, it has to be innovative to create its own niches, such as getting involved in reforestation with fast-growing species.
“These fast-growing tree species could be harvested and turned into wood charcoal, which is in high demand in the international market,” he said, adding that Sibu would thrive as it had a vast hinterland.
Meanwhile, Abang Johari also revealed that the state government had invested RM1 billion to improve Internet connectivity over the next two years.
“And we will introduce 5G in Kuching first then here in Sibu. This will provide better services for banking, business, tourism, education and health sectors,” he said. — DayakDaily