MIRI: The Federal Government needs to expand its Urban Transformation Centre (UTC) concept to Miri City in northern Sarawak as this city functions as the main hub for some 1.5 million people.
Sarawak Assistant Minister for Social Development Datuk Lee Kim Shin said the UTC – that functions as a one-stop venue for dealing with key Federal Government departments – was a very useful concept as it enabled citizens to handle important tasks with these departments more conveniently and efficiently in one place.
However, there is at present only one such UTC for Sarawak located in Kuching City.
Lee, who is also Assistant Minister for Communications and Assistant Minister for Iinfrastructure Developments, said that having only one UTC for the whole state was not enough.
“I am making a strong case to Putrajaya to convince them on the need to set up a UTC in Miri City as soon as possible.
“Miri City serves as the focal point for social, economic and business dealings for those living in the northern districts of not just Miri but also Bintulu, Suai, Niah, Sibuti, Bekenu, Marudi, interior Baram, Long Lama, Limbang, Lawas, Bario and Bakelalan,” he told a press conference yesterday.
“Miri is also an important venue for the 35,000 plus Malaysians who are working and living in Brunei.”
Lee said Putrajaya had a policy that there would be one UTC for each state.
“While this policy may be applicable to the states in the peninsula, it is not practical for Sarawak. Sarawak is different in the logistic aspects as it is so big in size.
“It is as big as the whole of peninsula Malaysia.
“Therefore it is justified for Miri to have a UTC to cater to the needs of Malaysians in northern Sarawak and those in Brunei,” he added.
Lee also briefed a UTC team headed by deputy secretary general of the Federal Treasury Datuk Dr Sundaran Annamalai on the proposed Miri UTC.
He brought the UTC team from Putrajaya to Miri to let them look at the ground situations here. He showed to them the Miri City Council’s one-stop centre which he suggested should be the venue for the Miri UTC.
Lee said he was hopeful that Putrajaya would set up the Miri UTC before year-end.