A cherished dream
by Philip Wong. Posted on June 24, 2012, Sunday
Housing developer plans to transform isolated Pulau Kerto into a tourism-centric theme park
LOCAL entrepreneur and housing developer Joseph Ting King Sung has big plans for Pulau Kerto, an isolated island opposite Sibu.
His cherished dream is to transform the area into a tourist heaven with a multi-million ringgit project known as Rajang Basin Theme Park.
Pulau Kerto is about five minutes by boat from the Express Boat Terminal.
The island made headlines recently over heavy siltation that turned the nearby river into a bottleneck, causing serious flooding to Sibu town for years.
Ting is optimistic that with his vast experience in the housing industry, it is possible to turn the Rajang Basin Theme Park into a successful tourist resort.
“This is one ambitious project and significant landmark to promote Sibu as a tourist destination and I hope the main players in the corporate and tourism sectors will share with me their expertise and experience to make the theme park a dream come true,” he told thesundaypost.
Ting, also vice chairman of the Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developers Association (SHEDA), said for far too long, Sibu had been deprived of a proper destination for tourists to enjoy their leisure hours.
“The theme park will serve as a centre where people can stroll through the culture of this town in a matter of minutes.
“It’s high time to have a park for the millions of tourists, travellers and locals who pass through the Central Region, and Sibu, being the focal point, holds a distinct advantage as provider of leisure activities for people to appreciate and enjoy,” he explained.
Ting said Rejang Best Sdn Bhd, a company set up solely to look into the concept of the theme park, would embark on an ambitious drive to popularise the project.
According to him, the company already has 10 acres of land and is looking for an additional 40 acres to make the project more viable and accessible and big enough to accommodate an influx of visitors.
“We’re hoping the State government and the Tourism Ministry will help us make things happen,” he added.
Ting said the project was initially known as Sunshui Theme Park at Mile 25, Sibu-Bintulu Road.
However, he was forced to abandon the plan when the nearby areas were gazetted for a cemetery of Sarawak Chiang Chuan Association.
This prompted him to look for an alternative area before he finally decided to relocate the park to Pulau Kerto.
“Pulau Kerto opposite Sibu town will serve as an ideal destination to help spur Sibu’s tourism,” he said.
Ting also changed the name to Rajang Basin Theme Park after the mighty Rejang River that flows through the area.
The Rejang which has its source in the Central Region, is linked by the Pan Borneo Highway from the east to the west. This enormous meandering waterway also connects the sea to the deeper interior of the region.
Ting said an interesting feature of the theme park is the 150-foot or six-storey high structure in the form of the state emblem — the Hornbill. Inside the structure will be an art gallery displaying the historical facts and pictures of Sibu.
Visitors can either walk or use the lift to the top for a panoramic view of Sibu. Numerous designs, old jars, arches and totem poles will also be displayed inside the structure.
“When it’s completed, we will apply to enter the structure in the Guinness Book of Record as the largest bird framework in the world,” he enthused.
Ting said an art garden would also be built within the compound to display the culture and history of the various races from the early times to the modern era amidst a beautiful landscaped setting.
A believer in feng shui, he will ensure the bird structure is built to face east.
“The sun rises in the east and we consider it the light of prosperity for Sibu. We always factor feng shui elements into all our projects and the Rejang Basin Theme Park will be no exception.”
Other interesting features include boat rides, a water park, food and entertainment outlets, a cultural village and villas.
Ting said the water park was suitable for tropical climate, adding that there may even be a mini zoo for orang utan and different species of hornbill.
He revealed there was also a proposal to create a crocodile pond at the basement to give visitors a look at the wildlife.
He is also looking into the possibility of setting up a fusion spa club to provide wellness activities.
“With abundant raw materials, skilled and semi-skilled labour, lots of land and more than enough power from Bakun hydro-electric dam, Sibu is a place to invest in.”
Ting said he would ensure the theme park would rank as one of the best in the country to promote tourism locally and internationally.