The first phase of the Sibu redevelopment project which is set to begin at the end of next year marks the dawn of a new era for the town whose economic activities have very much depended on timber since the 60s.

Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg said the Sibu economy will be propelled by the construction industry throughout a 12-year period as the redevelopment exercise is expected to complete in 2036, changing its landscape.

“That will create a lot of job opportunities in the construction sector and upon completion of the whole exercise Sibu will become a different Sibu,” he told reporters after visiting the Kampung Datu Redevelopment Project, here today.

He said following the completion, Sibu will attract investment in the services sector such as tourism and hospitality, set to be the town’s new anchor economic activities.

Abang Johari said the direction of development in Sibu, led by the Bukit Assek and Kampung Datu redevelopment, was discussed during the fourth State Development Coordination Committee Meeting (SDCCM) held earlier today.

Abang Johari said Sibu must engage in new economic activities as the government does not encourage logging or forest clearance.

“We want to conserve our trees because of climate change. We are implementing a lot of strategies under our carbon trading policy that will reduce carbon emissions and mitigate their impact,” he stressed.

He said Bukit Assek which has an area of 201 hectares had been identified for redevelopment due to its waterlogging issue with experts saying that the area is 1.5 metres below the level of Batang Rajang River.

“The new township will be environmentally friendly including the way we manage water sources. Taking Amsterdam as a model, we will build a lake and canals,” he said, adding that those affected by the project will be relocated to an area which has been identified by the state government.

“The development will be implemented together with the private sector carrying out commercial development in that particular area,” he added.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency