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Bukit Siol, Jalan Semariang Petra Jaya

93050 Kuching Sarawak

New development agenda needed to cope with ‘weekday city dwellers’ – Abg Jo
Posted on : 02 Aug 2019  Source of News: The Borneo Post

Abang Johari (centre) prepares to launch the City Day do, witnessed by other dignitaries. — Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING: A new trend is emerging in the state capital where people live in the city during weekdays but head back to their villages for the weekend, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said this posed a new challenge in terms of housing development in light of the increasing number of people flocking to the city, and that such situation would have to be addressed by both Kuching South City Council (MBKS) and Kuching North City Commission (DBKU).

“I’m sure we will have to open up the city to those coming to work in the city. Hence, we will need new strategies and plan new housing estates.

“There will be new a development agenda for MBKS and DBKU as well as areas outside (their jurisdiction). They (areas) all have to co-exist and we have to upgrade them,” he said when launching the 31st City Day celebration at Sarawak Islamic Complex Hall, here yesterday.

Abang Johari said the state administration will most likely implement the Autonomous Rapid Transit (ART) system here to not only enhance public transportation of the city but also to drive its transformation.

He explained that ART is a hybrid between train and Light Rail Transit (LRT) that comes with a lower implementation cost.

“We don’t need railway for ART because it has a device that can read the markings on the road. So the beautiful landscape of Kuching is still intact. We have carried out studies on ART.

“Our agenda is to make Kuching a modern, technology-driven and friendly city in Malaysia,” he said.

Met by journalists after the launch, Abang Johari said the cost to implement ART is one-third of putting into place an LRT system.

To a question, he said the Sarawak government is still at the study stage and will mostly likely implement ART instead of LRT for the state.

The chief minister further explained that there was no need to build new roads for the implementation of the proposed ART system.

“What we do is expand the existing ones (roads) and then we have dedicated lanes for it (ART). And it (ART) is not expensive.”

Asked which city or town in Sarawak would be chosen to run the ART trial, Abang Johari said the matter had yet to be decided.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people from all walks of life thronged the hall for the City Day celebration.

The launching was also witnessed by Kuching South mayor Dato James Chan and Datuk Bandar of Kuching North Datuk Abang Abdul Wahap Abang Julai.

Kuching attained its city status on Aug 1, 1988 – the second attainment of its kind in Malaysia after Kuala Lumpur.

MBKS and DBKU take turns to host the City Day celebration, with the latter hosting this year’s do.

Among those present were Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing, Assistant Minister of Rural Electricity Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi and Assistant Minister of Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali.