The Sarawak State government is eyeing to make Sibu the third town to achieve city status by 2031 with several big projects in the pipeline to achieve the vision, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

The projects include the redevelopment plan of Bukit Assek, expansion of Sibu urban and commercial areas, upgrading of digital infrastructure and developing deep peat soil area of Bukit Lima as a nature reserve.

To be implemented within the State’s long-term plan Post-Covid-19 Development Strategy 2030 (PCDS 2030), he said the projects would help Sibu that has fulfilled other prerequisites such as having a university, to achieve city status.

Speaking virtually via Zoom during Sibu Municipal Council’s (SMC) 40th-anniversary celebration here on Tuesday, Abang Johari said the council had achieved tremendous success in transforming Sibu for the past 40 years.

“Now is the time to look forward to the next 40 years or at least the next 10 years. The council has the objective of turning Sibu into a city by 2031 and therefore for the next 11 years, we have to work hard and plan for Sibu so that this city status can be achieved,” he said.

A committee for the redevelopment of Bukit Assek has been formed and Abang Johari had asked the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) to work together with the Land Custody and Development Authority (LCDA) on the matter.

Citing it as a momentous task, Abang Johari said it needs cooperation among the agencies as well as the people in Bukit Assek.

He said Bukit Lima would be a green area when it is declared as a nature reserve, similar to Piasau Nature Reserve in Miri and a nature reserve in Kuching located near the city’s industrial estates.

“Then Bukit Kemuyang will be connected to Bukit Lima and Kampung Nangka which will subsequently become an urban and commercial area as Sibu needs better land for its development,” he said.

He added this expansion plan will help to increase SMC’s revenue from RM80 million to RM100 million per year, and its reserve from RM25 million to RM50 million, which is one of the prerequisites for it to achieve city status.

“We have to plan Sibu in such a way that the people will come and at the same time we can develop real estate in Sibu which will become a source of income for the town,” he said adding that he fully supported Sibu’s transformation into a smart city.

Abang Johari said the state government has also agreed to upgrade Sibu’s digital infrastructure, adding that Sarawak Multimedia Authority has been instructed to work with SMC to establish fast internet connectivity.

At the event, he also announced the approval of a new building project for SMC at Tun Tuanku Haji Bujang Square Phase Two to mark the council’s anniversary, hoping it would become a symbol for the council to move forward to the year 2030.

Source: EdgeProp/Bernama, Nov 3, 2021

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