Tabuan Jaya park renamed after first mayor Datuk Song Swee Guan as 80th b’day present

Dr Sim (third right), Song (fourth right) and Wee (fifth right) together revealing the new signage during the ceremony.

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By Ling Hui

KUCHING, April 12: Tabuan Jaya Neighbourhood Park has been renamed as Mayor Song Swee Guan Park in honour of MBKS’s first mayor Datuk Song Swee Guan.

It was a special gift from Minister for Local Government and Housing Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian, current Kuching South City Council (MBKS) mayor Dato Wee Hong Seng and all MBKS staff for Song’s 80th birthday today.

Following a simple ceremony to unveil the new park name signage, all present including reporters sang a birthday song for the celebrant.

Reflecting on traditional Asian culture which recognises the contributions of those currently and previously in office, Dr Sim said naming this park after Song was a gesture to thank the latter for his eight years of hardwork under MBKS and several more years as chairman of Kuching Municipal Council (KMC).

“Today is the 80th birthday of Datuk Mayor Song Swee Guan and in the best of our tradition, our Asian culture where we always recognise those who have contributed a lot when they are holding office. It can be as simple as just naming a park after them.

“I am very grateful that the MBKS mayor and the council, they all agreed to and supported the idea and now this park is named after Datuk Song,” he said after the ceremony at Mayor Song Swee Guan Park here today.

Song (third right) receiving a basket of peaches signifying longevity from Wee (third right) presenting on behalf of MBKS.

In response to this, Song expressed his thanks several times and when asked to speak to the press, he cheerfully said: “Thank you very much everybody and I hope that we can all work together in the future and be very happy together.”

Song was appointed as a councillor of the then KMC in October 1981 before assuming the role of chairman in 1982. He continued to serve in the council until 1988, when Kuching South was delineated and MBKS conceived.

He then became the founding mayor of MBKS on August 1988 where he continued hold office for eight more years until his appointment as the Speaker of the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) in November 1996.

Many milestones were achieved in those eight years and he is regarded as among the pioneers in ‘greening the city’ before the terms were even popularised by pop-western culture in Sarawak.

Song was also elected as a State assemblyman in 1983 and again in 1987 before he was appointed the Speaker in DUN. For his winning streaks, he was nicknamed “Evergreen General” and in 2001, he officially retired. — DayakDaily