New face for old Kuching in the pipeline – Abang Johari

Abang Johari (fifth left) cuts the ribbon to officially launch ITC’s new premises. Also seen are Juma’ani (third left), Abdul Karim (second left), Dayang Azizah (fourth left) and others.

KUCHING: Old Kuching Town is set to become an attractive place of entertainment and relaxation for both foreign and local visitors.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the state government had come up with a master plan to upgrade all the facilities within the heart of the City.

He said the focus would be in old Kuching, where the basic infrastructure and attraction, ranging from the restoration to Satok Bridge (which is now under tender and to be constructed soon) to the conversion of Fort Margareta, would be developed within three years.

He revealed that the master plan for the development of old Kuching would cover all the Malay villages along the Sarawak River, stretching from Satok Bridge to Gambier Road, Main Bazaar until Padungan.

“We will upgrade all the facilities along the river including the Malay villages across the river until areas around the cat statue in Padungan,” he said at the launch of the Inter-Continental Travel Centre Sdn Bhd (ITC) new premises here yesterday.

Abang Johari revealed that Fort Margareta would also be upgraded, saying a cascading waterfall, to be decorated with coloured lightings, would be built there.

He said in the compound of Fort Margareta, a Western eatery had been proposed.

“We will convert the compound of Fort Margareta into a western style tea house. We have tendered the work out under the Ministry of Tourism.

“This tea house is to cater for our European tourists and locals who want to be like the Europeans.

“For a start, we want the visitors to the tea house to wear shorts and socks like the old British army,” he said.

The Chief Minister said also included in the master plan was the upgrading of the old Brooke Dockyard into a centre of small businesses.

He said once completed, these places will be the attraction in Kuching City.

“With the availability of these infrastructures, I believe Kuching City will become a place of entertainment and at the same time good places for people to relax,” he said.

Also present at the launching was the Chief Minister’s wife Datin Patinggi Dato Juma’ani Tun Tuanku Bujang, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youths and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah and ITC managing director Dayang Azizah Abang Zaidan.

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