Tuesday, November 12

Sibu needs master plan to be more vibrant — Abg Johari

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Abang Johari (seated, seventh right), his wife Juma’ani (sixth right), King Sing (seated, fourth right), Dr Annuar (seated, third right), (seated from second left), Stanley, Siaw, Wan Hamid, Lau, Thai King, Yap and others posing for a photo session.

SIBU: Sibu is in need of a master plan for urban renewal to make it more vibrant, says Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

However, he admits that such a plan is not easy as the town is situated on peat soil.

“Lots of studies need to be conducted, including engaging the services of experts. Sibu was a developed town because of timber industry.

“However, during the growth of the timber industry there was no proper planning in Sibu, which is situated on peat soil.

“I can’t promise you what can be done in Sibu. But one thing is you must have a master plan for urban renewal.

“This one needs a lot of money just like how Lee Kuan Yew (late Singapore prime minister) did it to Singapore…the same with Sibu – if we want to really make Sibu vibrant – we have to (have) a re-look at the Sibu planning and this one will take time but implementation, probably when I am no longer Chief Minister, but there must be a proper plan…planning for Sibu is a bit difficult because of the soil texture (peat soil), we have to do a lot of study; we have to get experts to look at it.

“That one, maybe we can try to find experts and after that based on the master plan – we implement it. There must be a master plan,” Abang Johari reiterated when officiating at a dinner of the Federation of Seven Clan Associations at a hotel here last Sunday.

The main sponsor for the event was Bintulu MP Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing.

Present were Abang Johari’s wife Datin Patinggi Datuk Amar Juma’ani Tuanku Bujang, Assistant Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dr Annuar Rapaee, Dudong assemblyman Datuk Tiong Thai King, Sibu MP Oscar Ling, Pelawan assemblyman David Wong, Temenggong Dato Vincent Lau, Temenggong Datuk Wan Hamid Edruce, Temenggong Stanley Geramong and Sibu Resident Charles Siaw.

Earlier, federation president Yap Hoi Liong said he hoped that the government would consider bringing opportunities to the people, especially those in Bukit Assek, to open up their land that had been left idle to inject economic lifeline to the people.

“I suggest that the government compensate them with market price (for their land) or let them be partners in economic exploration in a fair, just and open manner.”

Yap also pointed out that the image of Sibu must be enhanced and uplifted.

“For example, the drainage system here must be upgraded. The roads must be widened, and at the same time, efforts must be made to chart out new roads to curb the problems of traffic jam.

“In my view, although Sibu is the second largest town in Sarawak, it lacks a master plan to spur economic growth.

“I am grateful that the state government has built UCTS for the higher learning of the locals; our young people now don’t have to leave home to pursue higher learning, and this education is provided at an affordable rate. This has contributed to the economic progress of Sibu,” he said.

He noted that after the 14th general election, Sarawak has been facing numerous challenges, especially in dealing with matters related to Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

“Under this agreement, Sarawak enjoys equal status with Peninsular Malaysia. With the efforts towards the restoration of our rights, I believe ‘Anak Sarawak’ will give full support to the restoration of our autonomous rights. Here, I wish to state that our federation fully supports the state government in its decision on this matter,” Yap added.