Abang Johari blows out the candle on his birthday cake. From front second left are Mohamad Abu Bakar, Dr Sim, Dr Annuar, and Juma’ani, while from front right are Sagah, Julaihi, and Aaron. – Photo by Conny Banji

SIBU (Aug 7): The much-awaited Bukit Assek Redevelopment Project will start at the end of next year and its implementation is expected to go beyond 2035, said the Premier.

Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg said when completed, the project will change the landscape of Sibu into a modern and clean town with its own character.

“It will cost billions of ringgit and the funds will come from the government as well as the private sector to develop the whole of Sibu town.

“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 during a gathering with the Sibu community last night.

The gathering was held in conjunction with the State Development Coordination Committee Meeting (SDCCM) here today.

Abang Johari 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.

Abang Johari said other than Bukit Assek, changes in the landscape of Sibu will also involve the redevelopment of Kampung Datu, which is now in the final stage of implementation.

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.

Among those present at the gathering were Abang Johari’s wife Datuk Amar Juma’ani Tuanku Bujang; Deputy Premier Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian; Minister of Telecommunication and Utility Datuk Julaihi Narawi; Minister of Education, Innovation and Talent Development Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn; National Unity Minister Datuk Aaron Ago Dagang; State Secretary Datuk Amar Mohamad Abu Bakar Marzuki; Education, Innovation and Talent Development I Deputy Minister Datuk Annuar Rapaee.