SIBU (July 4): Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg’s announcement on the state government’s plan to develop Sibu town into another ‘Amsterdam’ has received positive feedback from the local folks.
Abang Johari at the 6th Special Olympics held at Sibu Jaya last Friday night said the presence of flood-prone areas in Bukit Assek has given them a new approach to deal with the problem.
Commenting on the ambitious plan to embark on turning Sibu into the ‘new Amsterdam’, Sibu Municipal Council’s councillor Jimmy De Rozario reckoned it would be amazing for Sibu to be transformed into one.
“Why not? In Amsterdam, there are about 80 bridges and 100 canals and these have brought tourists all over the world to Amsterdam.
“Sibu could be the same and if these canals or waterways are made into reality, this plan will turn the little town into a popular tourist destination and boost its economy,” he pointed out.
The drainage system for the flood-prone areas could be converted into canals or artificial waterways, and this can be one of the ways to mitigate flood risk in Sibu as the canals have the potential to intercept drainage and hold up water flows, he said.
“Hopefully the engineers can explore its possibility and to come out with plans which suit Sibu, not exactly like Amsterdam but with such concept,” he told The Borneo Post yesterday.
Meanwhile, Bukit Assek assemblyman Joseph Chieng said Abang Johari had mooted the idea of redeveloping the town with the concept of promoting tourism.
Amsterdam could be our urban planning model, and we are studying into this direction as well,” he said.
Local entrepreneur Simon Wee expressed his anticipation to see the town’s transformation which he believed would add aesthetic value to the inand city in the central region of Sarawak.
“Can’t wait to witness this would-be transformation of Sibu from one ‘ugly duckling’ to a glamorous swan,” said Wee.
Taman Selera Harmoni Sibu Muslim Traders Association chairman Abdul Taib Rosli, applauded the brainchild of the Premier and said it showed that the government is taking proactive measures to mitigate flood problems in Sibu.
“For me, it is a good move in view of frequent flooding in Sibu. I am also of the view that the canals or waterways can positively contribute to a boost in the agricultural sector.
“If the drainage or irrigation system is good, the soil will be fertile,” Abdul Taib said.