KUCHING: River transportation as a mode of public transport here will be fully developed within the next three years, Housing and Urban Development Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said yesterday.
He said the development would see water taxis operating up to Batu Kawah and Sungai Kuap.
To start with, he said, the water taxis would be launched in August to ply between Satok and the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK).
Abang Johari said river transportation had the potential to be developed like in Singapore, Venice and London.
He was speaking to reporters to announce the 2010 Water Taxi Design Competition.
The competition is for the water taxis plying between Satok and BCCK.
The minister pointed out that about RM200 million would be needed to develop the river transportation and the public bus system here, adding that it would be carried out in stages until 2015.
He said the fund for the development would come from the federal government.
Johari also said six jetties were already in place for the route between Satok and BCCK and many more would be built, adding that the fare structure was still being worked out.
Sarawak Rivers Board (SRB), the Marine Operations Force and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development are among the agencies involved.
Johari believed that river transportation would help promote tourism activities along the Sarawak River, creating an opportunity for visitors to explore Kuching through water taxis.
He assured that the water taxis would not affect the existing ‘perahu tambang’ operators who were also encouraged to participate in the business.
Johari called on the people to participate in the competition which offered RM5,000, RM3,000 and RM2,000 as prizes for the first, second and third places respectively and RM800 for the three consolation prize winners.
The competition is divided into three categories – small-sized water taxi (passengers between five and 10), medium-sized water taxi (passengers between 11 and 20) and large-sized water taxi (passengers between 21 and 30).
According to him, the design evaluation will be based on creativity, feasibility, material selection and graphic skills.
The competition is from tomorrow (April 1) until April 30.
Further information can be obtained from the brochure and registration forms available at the organisers respective office or by downloading
the brochure and registration forms from the
website http://watertaxi2010.blogspot.com. The competition is organised by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, Ministry of Tourism and Heritage, Invention and Design Association of Sarawak (Ideas), Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), Information Department, Marine Department and Sarawak Rivers Board (SRB).
Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development Affandi Keli, Ass Prof Dr Margaret Chan, from the competition secretariat from UiTM and SRB senior assistant controller Hatta Morshidi were among those present.