SIBU: SibuJaya development will supersede that of greater Sibu itself in the next 25 years, says Sibu Rural District Council (SRDC) deputy chairman Robert Lau Hui Yew.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of SibuJaya Festival on Sunday night, Lau said his anticipation was based on the fact that SibuJaya was located close to the Pan-Borneo Highway.
He said once the 3km section of the Pan-Borneo Highway in the area was completed, traffic from Kuching to Lawas would go past SibuJaya.
“Motorists passing by that section of the Pan-Borneo Highway to either Kuching or Lawas will no longer need to go to Sibu town. This place will become a transportation hub of Sarawak,” he added.
Lau, who was personally involved in this township development in 1993 as his law firm was appointed as a panel lawyer to do the agreement for the first batch of low-cost housing there, said SibuJaya had transformed tremendously.
“Less than 25 years ago, this place was an empty piece of land covered with secondary forest.
“Look at SibuJaya more than 25 years ago and look at SibuJaya today. It has become a liveable and vibrant township.
“It is a true township with a community spirit,” he added.
He recalled that the 1,500 low-cost houses then were selling at between RM42,000 and RM70,000. But now they were going for RM120,000.
“During the 1998 economic crisis, the price of a unit of shophouse here dropped to RM300,000 but the price now is at least RM1.4mil,” he said.
SibuJaya, he said, was able to experience continuous growth due to proper planning and leadership by the then Housing Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg, who was now Sarawak Chief Minister, and Amcorp Group – the master developer of this township, with the support of various government agencies such as Housing Development Commission and SRDC.
“Our chief minister was very involved with the planning and development of SibuJaya, especially during his time as the Housing Minister. He visited countless times and was involved with key decisions that contributed to the success of this township,” he said.
There are about 6,000 households here with a population of 30,000.
Lau said SibuJaya would experience the same development as Samarahan in Kuching.
“The benchmark for SibuJaya is Samarahan, which was once a fishing village. It is now a successful education centre of Malaysia with three institutions of higher learning. I read that it will soon become a medical hub,” he said.
SRDC, he said, has more exciting projects and plans for SibuJaya but it still needed the support from the Government, especially the state government and the master developer.
“We definitely need more sports facilities here as this township has a very young population. A proper stadium and a public swimming pool should be the minimum requirement. SibuJaya is shaping up to become a great town in Sarawak,” he added.