‘Darul Hana good for city, people’

The development project, when completed in 10 to 15 years time, will give Kuching a modern look — Taib.

KUCHING: The RM120 million Darul Hana development project will clean the city of a ‘slum’ image and give affected villagers a better living environment.

Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said this development initiative should not be viewed merely as a housing development project, but an effort by the state government to restructure Kuching to reflect the increasingly affluent populace and economic advancement of the state.

“We decided to use this project to transform Kuching City. It must be implemented because we do not want a slum in the middle of a thriving and prosperous city,” said the Chief Minister at the launching ceremony held at the State Legislative Assembly complex here yesterday.

Darul Hana Development Project is projected to be completed between 10 and 15 years time, and it involves redeveloping 12 traditional Malay villages located along Sarawak River.

The affected villages are Kampung Boyan, Kampung Gersik, Kampung Sourabaya Ulu, Kampung Sourabaya Hilir, Kampung Semarang, Kampung Pulo Ulu, Kampung Pulo Hilirm, Kampung Bintawa Ulu, Kampung Bintawa Hilir, Kampung Bintawa Tengah, Kampung Panglima Seman Ulu and Kampung Panglima Seman Hilir.

Taib told those present that after developing places such as Batu Kawah, Matang, Samarahan, Santubong and Samariang, the government felt it could not let a part of the city be abandoned.

“In order to prevent a part of the city from becoming a slum, a few years ago, I had to think of ways to develop Seberang Hilir area.

“After discussions with (Housing Minister) Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg and with the support as well as funding from state and federal governments, we decided to launch the Darul Hana development concept.”

He said apart from providing roads, infrastructure and amenities for this development, the state government had increased the land area to 721 acres.

But the area is still insufficient due to the large population involved.

Taib said due to the space limitation, it was impossible for Darul Hana to be implemented without high rise buildings, such as flats.

He assured that the government would ensure a balanced mixture of buildings to be built in the area to maintain the village environment.

Apart from providing loan schemes with repayment period of between 20 and 25 years for the villagers to purchase houses and flats, all necessary amenities such as meeting places for villagers to meet and conduct their activities would be provided.

“Our intention is not to chase people away, but to change their living environment to be better and suit the changes in the city. Once we can achieve what we have planned, this area will be on par with the other side of the city.”

Taib also gave an assurance that the villagers involved would be given permanent land titles that could be passed down to future generations, adding he hoped the villagers involved would give their full cooperation to make the project a reality.

He suggested that river taxis be established for villagers living in Darul Hana as an alternative for them to move about.

Also present were his wife Puan Sri Ragad Kurdi Taib, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu Numpang, State Legislative Assembly Speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar, Housing Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg, State Secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohd Morshidi Abdul Ghani and Sarawak Land Custody and Development Authority general manager Datuk Dr Sulaiman Husaini.