Tuesday, July 5

Golden Bridge will not affect ‘tambang’ operators income


LINKING PEOPLE: Taib (second right) presses the button to release colourful balloons to mark the launching of the Golden Bridge project. On his right is Talip. — Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING: The livelihood of ‘tambang’ (boat) operators will not be affected by the proposed Golden Bridge crossing Sarawak River from Kuching Waterfront to the new State Legislative Assembly building.

In giving this assurance at the launching of the RM35-million project by Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud here yesterday, Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) chairman Datuk Talib Zulpilip said the bridge will instead help the operators increase their income.

Talib, who is also Assistant Minister for Tourism, said all the operators need to do is adjust their routine from ferrying ordinary passengers across the river to bringing foreign and domestic tourists to ply along the river for site seeing.

He said by providing such services they will in fact earn more than what they presently get.

“Many of them are in fact very happy because if they bring normal passengers across they will only get 50 sen per person but if they paddle slightly upriver, show the Istana and the Waterfront they can charge RM5 each passenger.

“Let’s say, if they have 10 passengers in one trip they will make RM50. So I believe they will make more when they are ferrying tourists rather than normal passengers. So I believe the bridge will be beneficial for the tambang operators,” he elaborated.

He added that it is for the operators to promote the kind of service they provide, especially after the completion of the bridge in 2015.

“On our part, we are prepared to assist them (operators) improve the feature and decorations of their boats to make them more attractive, unique and fit to be used as tourist boats.

“So I am confident that the bridge will be beneficial to the boat operators because many people, I believe, especially tourists really love to take a boat ride and don’t mind paying more for nostalgia by riding in the boats looking up at the nice bridge above them,” he added.

The Golden Bridge, which is scheduled to be completed at the end of 2015, costs RM35 million, with SEDC as the project implementer while the consortium of PPES Works (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd and Naim Land Sdn Bhd is the project contractor.