Abg Jo: Transformation of traditional Malay villages to take 10 years

KUCHING: Housing Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said within the period, the estimated 24,000 residents currently living in mostly cramped settlements along the river bank would be relocated to new and modern residential areas in stages.

“The whole development, covering a total area of nearly 800 acres, will be divided into blocks – 10 blocks altogether,” he told reporters after officiating at a ‘Majlis Doa Selamat’ to start piling works for the construction of Darul Hana Mosque in Petra Jaya here yesterday.

According to Abang Johari, who is also Tourism Minister, the first block for 480 households from three villages – Kampung Semarang, Panglima Seman and Pulo Hulu – was expected to take three to four years to complete. The project is under Land Custody and Development Authority (LCDA). “The moment we have half way completed (the first block), we will start the next block. “Most important thing is to relocate the first block first. “We want it to be proper. The moment the system is set, then it will be easier for the rest of the blocks – it is just matter of repetition,” he disclosed.

Abang Johari also explained that to connect the villages which are now separated by Jalan Tol, the state government was planning to build a flyover to link both sides. “When everything is in place, what we can see is a modernised neighbourhood with very good environment for both residents and visitors to enjoy, he added. Among those present at the ceremony yesterday were Assistant Housing Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah and Pantai Damai assemblyman Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi.