SIBU: The wish-list includes jobs, housing and venture capital as Nangka assemblyman Dr Annuar Rapaee engaged with 42 youth sections of Chinese non-government organisations (NGOs) here to brainstorm for fresh ideas on how to make this town more vibrant.
Dr Annuar said the fruitful engagement offered the youths a forum to provide new ideas and voice their concerns on how they could better contribute to the development of the riverine town.
He said the discussion was organised to find out if the problems faced by Chinese youths were similar to that of their Bumiputera counterparts.
The two-hour discussion with Chinese youth section heads and committees covered areas related to job opportunity, recreational places and tourism, salary, Internet speed, Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE), capital or funding for new business start-ups and affordable housing.
“I am very glad the Chinese youths turn up in big numbers. I appreciate their views and concerns about the development in Sibu,” he said of the pivotal meeting.
“They have all been divided into respective working committees to expound further on their ideas on how to make Sibu a better place to stay and work, including retaining local talents and enticing those working in other places to come back to serve here,” Dr Annuar told The Borneo Post after the engagement on Saturday.
He recalled that many raised concerns on job opportunities.
The other core issue raised was on recreational places and how to spur the tourism sector here.
He added there were even suggestions from the youths for more homestays, given that there were many traditional longhouses here which foreign visitors would love to experience.
“I agree with them that the potential of many traditional longhouses here and the mighty Rajang River should be tapped to lure more foreign tourists to Sibu.
“To me, turning the traditional longhouses into a homestay is one way to preserve this valuable heritage and make it viable.”
He further noted some Chinese youths had voiced out that it was not easy to obtain financing to start a business.
On SCORE, he said the youths were aware of it but unsure on ‘where to go’ to tap into the vast opportunity, especially the Tanjung Manis Halal Hub.
To cascade down the information, Dr Annuar would arrange a session with Regional Corridor Development Authority (Recoda) to enlighten local youths on ways to tap into SCORE opportunities.
Asked on affordable housing raised during the discussion, he said he would bring the matter to the attention of the Housing Ministry. He pointed out that the issue had to be ironed out because as the population grew, so would demand for affordable housing.
“I will bring up this issue to the Ministry of Housing to find ways how we can provide affordable housing to Sibu people, particularly the younger generation,” Dr Annuar said.
Towards this end, he said the working committees would meet up to deliberate on their ideas and suggestions at the end of this month.
Also present at the session was Sarawak Ning Deck Association Youth chief Joseph Chieng.