MIRI: The Federal Government has expanded its Urban Transformation Centre (UTC) concept to Miri City in Sarawak.
Miri city functions as the main hub for some 1.5 million urban and rural people living in the northern half of the state.
The Miri UTC will be declared open today by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak.
A UTC is a one-stop centre where all Federal Government agencies will be housed, including a 1Malaysia Clinic.
It opens seven days a week, from 8am to 9pm, except on public holidays.
It is a very useful concept as it enables citizens to conduct their business with these departments more conveniently and efficiently in one place.
Sarawak Assistant Minister for Communications Datuk Lee Kim Shin had fought for the setting up of more UTCs in Sarawak, as he reasoned that having only one UTC for the whole state in Kuching was not enough.
“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.
“Miri is also an important venue for the more than 35,000 Malaysians who are working and living in Brunei.
“Putrajaya has a policy that there will be one UTC for each state.
“While this policy may be applicable to the states in the peninsula, it is not practical for Sarawak to have only one UTC.
“Sarawak is different in the logistical aspects as it is so big in size. It is as big as the whole of peninsular 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,” said Lee.
He thanked the Federal Government for responding swiftly to his calls for the setting up of Miri UTC.
Lee is the incumbent assemblyman for Senadin and is vice-president of the Sarawak United Peoples Party (SUPP).
Miri mayor Lawrence Lai told the press that some 5,000 people were expected to attend the opening ceremony by Najib.
Miri UTC to serve vast population