KUCHING: The Sarawak government will continue to push for eco-friendly initiatives to turn Kuching into an accessible, sustainable and people-friendly city.
Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said innovation in technology and environmental friendly policies were integral to transform the state capital into a well-connected smart city.
Among the state government’s mega projects for Kuching is the building of a light rail transit (LRT) network and rapid-transit bus system to ensure Sarawak’s most populated city will not be plagued by traffic congestions.
Abang Johari has also tasked the local authorities, Kuching North City Hall (DBKU) and Kuching South City Council (MBKS) to set up more recreational areas to promote healthy activities and social engagements among the people.
“We want to make Kuching clean and well connected. Despite the rapid growth, we must create a good environment for the people to strengthen relations and unity,” he said at the Kuching City Day celebration at the Stadium Perpaduan here.
DBKU mayor Datuk Abang Abdul Wahap Abang Julai and MBKS mayor Datuk James Chan were present at the event to mark Kuching’s 29th anniversary after being declared a city on Aug 1, 1988.
In addition to creating a highly efficient public transport system, Abang Johari said the government was serious in pushing for dramatic cuts in carbon emissions. One such initiative is introducing electric buses in the near future.
The chief minister also said the old State Legislative Assembly (DUN) building would be turned into a performing arts centre.
Located near other attractions such as the Fort Margherita and new DUN complex, the performing arts centre would become another tourist destination across the Kuching Waterfront, he added.
“Once the new Golden S Bridge is completed, tourists attraction across the river from the city centre will be connected with the Kuching old district and creating a loop of heritage trail for visitors.
“Overall, we are looking to transform Kuching into a unique city that is friendly to the people and environment,” he added.
Abang Johari praised the efforts of DBKU and MBKS to create a sustainable city.
He said both councils had proven they were capable of serving the people well and producing a strong-knit community among city folk.
“To be awarded Environmentally Sustainable City Award in 2011 by the Asean community, as well as being proclaimed as Malaysia’s first ‘city of unity’ by the 1Malaysia Foundation two years ago marks the great achievements by both councils,” he said.
Abang Johari also commended initiatives by both councils to adopt technology to improve their service and delivery to the people.
At the event, the chief minister also launched the free WiFi service by PP Telecommunications Sdn Bhd (PPTelecom), which covers the area from Kuching Waterfront to Padang Merdeka. The project is part of DBKU Metropolitan Free Wifi initiative.
DBKU also launched its WhatsApp service to response to public queries and complaints. The contact number is 016-886 4466.
The Kuching City Day celebration kick-started the month-long Kuching Festival that is filled with various programmes and events across the city.