Sunday, July 12

Kuching to take a cue from Paris

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HAPPY CITY DAY: Students taking the opportunity to pose alongside Kuching City mascot Alca near the structure bearing the numbers 23 to mark the 23rd anniversay of Kuching’ city. This photo was taken after the City Day celebrations at the DBKU Arena yesterday. — Photo by Tan Song Wei

Research to be conducted soon to ensure city has human touch as it continues to grow

KUCHING: Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud yesterday pledged to allocate funds for research on how to turn Kuching into a ‘city with a soul’.

Speaking at the 23rd Commemoration of Kuching City yesterday, he posed the challenge to the two mayors of Kuching to find the ‘soul’ of Kuching so that it would not become failures like other big cities which lacked a human touch. He said Kuching should have a ‘soul’ to complement its status as state capital, administrative centre and hub of economic activities.

“Hopefully, we meet again on the 25th anniversary (of Kuching).

Tell me, the two Datuk Bandar (mayors), what is the soul of Kuching. If you need to study on it, I can give you the money,” he said.

Also present were newlyminted DBKU Datuk Bandar Datuk Abang Abdul Wahap Abang Julai and MBKS mayor James Chan.

Taib said he had been to Paris before and he described it as a city with a soul because the people there made the place very liveable.

“When I went to Paris the first time, I was so impressed with the spirit of manhood. People were greeting each other, making the place feel like a place to live and not only to stay … Paris has got soul.

That is why the song ‘I Love Paris’ is so popular with the French because they can feel Paris has got something special.

“I feel that Kuching too has the potential to be another Paris,” he said.

While he was astonished with population growth of the city from 200,000 to 630,000 at present, Taib said he was concerned with the lack of healthy interaction.

“We have a situation where the people do not even know their neighbours!”

As such, he suggested to developers of new housing projects to organise activities such as combined house-warming parties where the residents could get to know their neighbours and forge friendships.

“In our multi racial community, some people are shy to know each other.

If there is durian season, organise a combined party also, where the people can get together.

“That way there will be greater unity, friendship and eagerness to help one another.” Yesterday’s event saw the launching of the Kuching Festival to coincide with City Day which is celebrated every Aug 1.

Before that, the swearing in of Abang Wahap as the sixth commissioner of DBKU was held.  The invited guests included Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu, Land Development Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing, Urban Development and Housing Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg and Public Health and Environment Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh.

Also there were State Secretary Datuk Amar Morshidi Ghani, State Legislative Assembly speaker Dato Sri Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar, assistant ministers and senior government officers.

ENJOYING THE SHOW: Taib (second right), Chan (first right) and Abang Wahap (first left) looking at the release of balloons to mark the City Day celebrations. Also in the photo are Taib’s wife Puan Sri Ragad Kurdi, Jabu (second left) and Masing.