SIBU: Councillors of Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) should serve the people under their jurisdiction well.
Newly-minted SMC chairman Clarence Ting Ing Horth gave this reminder during the swearing of the new councillors at a hotel here yesterday.
Minister of Local Government and Housing Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian and permanent secretary to the Ministry of Local Government and Housing Bakrie Zaini were present to witness the swearing-in ceremony.
Ting also reminded that the town is home to diverse communities unlike before when it was predominantly a Chinese and Malay area due to rural-urban migration.
“SMC needs to address this changing diversity and be mindful of being too set in our old ways,” he said.
He noted that many viewed Sibu as an old and uninteresting town that had seen better days as it was not growing like Miri or Bintulu.
But he begged to differ as the two most common grouses among many Sibu residents lately were traffic jams and parking problems.
Sibu residents, he said, face constant threat of getting police summons when they come to town due to inadequate parking spaces around hotels and restaurants or at shopping lots, he said, adding the issue of more multi-storey car parks should be addressed urgently by the council.
On traffic jams, he said parents are grumbling about getting up earlier in the mornings and going back later in the evenings due to heavy traffic during rush hours.
As chairman, he said he needs assistance from the state government to improve the road infrastructure and from the federal government to improve federal roads like Jalan Tunku Rahman to airport, which is in a poor condition, giving a poor impression to any visitor to Sibu.
“But I was surprised when the council secretary handed me the latest population figure in Sibu municipality, that we have 280,000 people living here. I was always told Sibu’s population is around 200,000 only.”
On when Sibu would become a city, he said given the population figure and SMC’s revenue of RM63 million according to the latest report, the town was far from meeting the criteria to attain city status which requires that a town has a population of 500,000 and the council’s income is RM100 million.
Thus he pointed out instead of fighting to get city status, the council should concentrate on making the town clean and tidy.