Wednesday, May 19

Businesses urged to relocate to new township, assistance assured

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KUCHING: Tebedu assemblyman Dato Sri Michael Manyin advised businesses affected by the Aug 27 fire at Tebedu Old Bazaar to move to the new Tebedu Township (Bandar Mutiara) so that customers would not be divided.

He said it would be better for them to move to the new commercial site or else the volume of customers would be very small if they were divided between two places.

Manyin also informed reporters that the district officer had been asked to chair a meeting and they are now waiting for proposals from the affected business owners as they would rather let the businessmen decide before any suggestion was made.

“Their shop lease expired 10 years ago so they (the shop owners) were given a 12 year leasing period. The lease will expire by 2014. So now, we can only wait for their proposal,” said Manyin at the chief minister’s open house at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching.

No response has been received from the affected businessmen yet.

Even so, Manyin assured that they would go all out to help those affected.

Thirteen wooden shophouses were razed to the ground in an inferno that occurred late afternoon on Aug 27. Only four of the 13 shophouses were occupied as nine businesses had already moved to the new Tebedu Township awhile back. The remaining businesses utilised the empty lots for storage purposes.

The Tebedu Old Bazaar was believed to be more than a 100 years old, established by a group of Chinese settlers who had come from Singkawang and Pontianak, Indonesia.

Meanwhile, the minister said that plans were afoot to build a trans-border market in Tebedu, similar to the existing one in Serikin.

He said the plan had been submitted to the Tourism and Heritage Ministry and was currently under consideration.

“The project is estimated to cost RM10 million, and hopefully it would be implemented under the 10th Malaysian Plan’s second rolling plan.

“The federal government has inspected the area and a proper proposal with the required designs has been put forward to the relevant ministry,” he said yesterday.

The project is expected to begin by the end of next year.

“Once completed, Tebedu will be very vibrant for we are talking about a large area here,” he pointed out.

Over the years, Tebedu has seen an influx of foreigners conducting business on this side of the Sarawak-Kalimantan border.

“Indonesians who wish to open businesses in the Tebedu area will have to register under the name of local residents,” explained Manyin.