Sri Aman town booming with new shops

KUCHING: Sri Aman town is booming with new shops with the improvement in the people’s purchasing power due to better prices of rubber, palm oil and padi.

This is despite the fact that the town is isolated from the main trunk road from Kuching to Sibu, Bintulu and Miri, said Assistant Minister of Housing and Assistant Minister of Rural Development Datuk Francis Harden.

“Although Sri Aman town seems to be quite isolated from the main trunk road, it’s actually quite vibrant. Now with the people’s purchasing power greatly improved with better prices of rubber, oil palm and padi, the shophouses which were built by LCDA have all been sold.

“And with the government’s plan to build a bridge across the Batang Lupar near the town area, the journey to Betong town will be shortened by 50 km. This will further boost the economic potential of Sri Aman town in the very near future,” Francis told The Borneo Post here yesterday.

He said under phase I of the town extension project, Land Custody and Development Authority (LCDA) had constructed 44 shophouses and a hotel and it planned to build another 120 units of shophouses under phases II and III of the project soon.

“With the purchasing power of the people greatly improved, many of them are now able to purchase the shophouses which cost between RM680,000 and RM750,000 per unit. The trend shows that there is a healthy growth in the property sector as well,” he said.

On the proposed Batang Lupar bridge, Francis disclosed that he had forwarded the proposal to the Ministry of Works and hoped the RM80 million project would materialise under the 11th Malaysia Plan.

“The proposed bridge project across Batang Lupar near Kpg Ulu, Sri Aman town will also include the upgrading of certain parts of the road from Sri Aman town to Lidong, Ng Skrang a distance of 10 km. And another 13 km from Ng Skrang to Betong Town will certainly shorten the journey from Sri Aman to Betong,” said Francis.

Sri Aman District has a population of about 70,000 people, including more than 10,000 residing in the town.

Francis, who is also SUPP vice-president, expressed confidence in retaining the Sri Aman seat in the coming state election.

“I have made my first round to visit my constituents consisting of 160 Iban longhouses, nine Malay villages and 12 Chinese areas including Sri Aman town. Now I am doing my second round and by the time the election comes, I will be able to make my third round,” he stressed.

He believed BN had a high chance of retaining the seat as the people in Sri Aman still needed the government’s assistance in various aspects such as infrastructure, schools and roads.

“On top of that, we have been able to counter the allegations made by the opposition. But we will continue to work hard so BN will retain the seat,” he added.

In the last state election held in 2011, Francis won the Sri Aman seat for the fourth time with a majority of 2,447 votes by defeating Leon Jimat Donald of DAP.