Wednesday, January 29

Better cultural village proposed to boost resort city


MIRI: A cultural village to showcase the cultures, heritage and traditions of Sarawak is one of the proposed projects for Miri and it will be more unique and realistic than the Sarawak Cultural Village in Kuching.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr George Chan disclosed this when asked by reporters on projects proposed to be implemented within the 10th Malaysia Plan.

“We have the largest diversity of ethnic and racial groups in Sarawak and the country. We want to make the cultural village very realistic, like showcasing people doing chores and activities such as farming in natural setting,” said Dr Chan, who is also the Minister of Tourism and Heritage Sarawak.

According to Dr Chan, the location for the proposed cultural village has yet to be determined although the authority concerned has identified around 100 to 200 acres of land in Lambir, about 30 minutes drive from the city centre, for the proposed cultural village.

“We are yet to decide on the location. We will let the state government to decide. But it will be up somewhere along Miri-Bintulu Road and should be 20 to 30 minutes drive from the city,” he said, adding that the location cannot be too far, else it would be inconvenient for people to visit.

Dr Chan also pointed out that a huge amount of money will be required to start the project, revealing that “it would cost around RM60 million”.

They will also be working together with Sarawak Museum on some aspects of the cultural village which will feature the cultures and lifestyles of various ethnics and indigeniuous groups in the island of Borneo.

“There is a proposal to set up a beads making factory there. It would be more interesting and great if we could put all in. It is still under planning as we need a lot of money to realise the project. This would also boost the image of Miri as a tourist and resort city,” Dr Chan explained.

On other subject related to tourism development, Dr Chan said both state and federal governments would allocate a huge amount of money to improve and construct new infrastructure such as bicycle, walking and jogging tracks along the beach as well as providing proper facility for diving activities.

Dr Chan said both state and federal governments were always discussing on projects to be implemented in the state, including Miri.

“The projects could not be given or focused in one place only. Miri has few big projects on the plan. In the second-half of the 10th Malaysia Plan, we thought about building a channel,” he said.

On another development matter, Dr Chan indicated that the government will be spending on linking the interiors to Miri and the outside world.

“The roads in the interiors are important as they would allow transportation for people in remote and rural areas in northern region to come to Miri and beyond.”

He also pointed out that the proposed second by-pass from Miri to Kuala Baram would be carried out after dealing with the financial side of the project. “We are now doing some adjustment in the financial side. Everything is ready… once we get the money, the project would be on and hopefully it would be within the 10th Malaysia Plan.”

Earlier on, Dr Chan conducted a walkabout at Central Market and Unity Food Centre to extend Chinese New Year greetings and distributed greeting cards to traders, hawkers and patrons there.

Joining him were assistant minister of Communications Datuk Lee Kim Shin, Pujut assemblyman Andy Chia, mayor Lawrence Lai and Datuk Sebastian Ting.