State govt to undertake study to upgrade Siburan into district

Abang Johari (centre, red and white shirt) greets people upon arrival at the ceremony at Siburan basketball court. Behind him is Dr Jerip.

KUCHING, Feb 14: A task force will undertake a study to upgrade Siburan from a subdistrict into a district.

Highlighting this, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg emphasised that proper planning including concerning human resources was needed to prepare for and upgrade Siburan into a district.

“I’ve asked the State Secretary (Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohd Morshidi Abdul Ghani) and the Serian Resident together with elected representatives of the areas to conduct a study to upgrade Siburan into a district,” he said.

“There are certain criteria that must be met. Siburan has become a new township and therefore we (need to) study that including a green area such as a recreational park for people to carry out leisure activities,” he added.

Abang Johari said this when officiating at the official launching of the Siburan basketball court with roofing, and Chinese New Year celebration at Mile 17 Siburan here last night.

Abang Johari (centre) together with senior ministers and event organising committee members tossing yee sang to welcome a prosperous new year.

Event organising chairman, who is also Assistant Minister of Transportation, Datuk Dr Jerip Susil, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong and Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports Datuk Snowdan Lawan were among those present.

While leaving the planning of a green area in Siburan to Dr Jerip, Abang Johari also gave assurance that the amount of allocation proposed will be approved.

“Secondly, I heard that Michael Manyin and Dr Jerip together with the elected representatives here have planned for the upgrade of the subdistrict office here at a cost of RM1.5 million. So plan for the upgrade within that budget,” he said.

“This is only a small part of the development. We have widened the roads here and built a complex in Siburan as maybe Siburan will be connected to Samarahan. This means we will develop a community living in this Serian district including Siburan area,” he added.

More importantly, Abang Johari pointed out that the people must continue to be united and to defend Sarawak’s rights in order to develop a stronger Sarawak.

The state government under Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), he stressed, must be headed in the right direction as Sarawak has a promising future.

“Things are better now as in the past, we have to report to Kuala Lumpur all the time as under Barisan Nasional (BN), we must follow the majority. We had to ask permission first before we could speak,” he said.

“Now that we are out of BN, we are independent under GPS. We will defend our rights and I can impose Sales Tax (of five per cent on petroleum products) without having to refer to KL because that’s our right under the Constitution,” he reiterated.

A lion dance troop entertains the crowd.

On the new basketball court, Dr Jerip disclosed it was approved by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and was completed at a cost of about RM500,000.

“Other projects approved during a walkabout in 2016 include Pasar Tani Siburan which is nearly completed at a cost of RM1 million and a health clinic at a new site behind Eastern Mall which is now in the tender process,” he revealed.

The basketball court was initiated by former administrator the late Liew Wei Kong after 1965 to serve as a recreational area for youngsters. The basketball court has gone through multiple upgrades in the past 50 years.

With assistance from Dr Jerip, the basketball court finally received a roof; construction started in the middle of last year and was completed in December.

Centenarian Tang shakes Dr Jerip’s hand after receiving a red packet from Abang Johari (on Jerip’s right).

The facility has produced more than 10 national and about 80 state female and male basketball players since its inception.

The celebration also witnessed the presentation of ang pow (red packets) to 40 elderly persons and 40 less fortunate individuals from Siburan. Among the oldest recipients was 100-year-old Tang Ling Chai who was born on Jan 30, 1919. — DayakDaily