(From third right) Abang Johari, Dr Annuar, Dr Sim and others pose during their visit to the Kampung Datu Baru redevelopment site.

SIBU (Aug 7): The redevelopment projects here involving mainly the development of Kampung Datu Baru and Bukit Assek will change the entire landscape of Sibu in terms of its physical development and economy, said Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He expressed confidence that Sibu would become “a different place” upon completion of the entire redevelopment project.

“Sibu will become a different Sibu that will attract investments and services, particularly tourism and other services such as hospital, healthcare and so on,” he told a press conference following a visit to the Kampung Datu Baru redevelopment site today.

With him during his visit were Deputy Premier Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian and Deputy Minister of Education, Innovation and Talent Development Datuk Dr Annuar Rapaee.

The Premier added that that Sibu’s economy will be propelled and moved by the construction industry whereby more jobs will be created.

The direction of the development of Sibu was discussed in the state development coordination committee meeting at RH Hotel here yesterday morning.

According to him, Sibu has been dependent on the timber industry for too long and must now adjust to a new commercial development.

“The government is now in the effort to conserve our forests due to climate change, and we have created lots of strategies under carbon trading to mitigate the emission of carbon.

“Sibu has no anchor economic activities, so what we do is we have to redevelop Sibu. And Bukit Assek has been identified because it is a very down-trodden area.

“We have to develop the drainage system, and the expert has informed us that the Bukit Assek area is about 1.5 metres below the level of our river,” he pointed out.

According to the Premier, the first phase of the development of infrastructure in Bukit Assek will start at the end of 2024, and would take more than 10 years to complete.

On the development of the Kampung Datu Baru area, he said it would also change the landscape of the area once it is completed.

Meanwhile, during a gathering with the Sibu community on Sunday night, Abang Johari said it would cost billions of ringgit to develop the whole of Sibu town, with the funds coming from the government as well as the private sector.

“If that happens, there will be a lot of construction and a lot of materials needed. Sibu has to be a modern town that can attract visitors.

“If the water is too much, use it to make a big lake to solve the flood problem and we can manage the water by building canals.

“Do not do it half way. If the project requires billions of ringgit, then we will find the money. That is what I am going to do for Sibu as long as I am the premier,” he said.

He also said the redevelopment is expected to go beyond 2035 and will bring about a lot of economic activities in Sibu.

“But don’t expect when I say it today, the change will happen tomorrow. Rome was not built in one day.

“Meaning to say, we will develop Sibu as the most modern town with its own character. When this happens, the spillover will span as far as Kapit and Sarikei.

“Sarikei and Kapit will become the hinterlands of Sibu. The towns will support each other as a group of economic entities.

“The government will inject money for the redevelopment but the private sector must also come along because by then there will be economic returns to that investment,” he said.

Bukit Assek, with a size of 497 acres, also covers the town’s central business district.

It was previously reported that the old area is not conducive for residential purposes due to waterlogging and social issues.