Delay in rebuilding of razed shophouses due to legal matters

THE Gambier Street Re-Building Committee has said that the delay in reconstruction of the historical shophouses destroyed in the December 22 fire along Gambier Street in Kuching was due to unresolved legal matters.

The authorities were not to be faulted, said its chairman Wee Hong Seng at a press conference in Kuching to comment on reports calling on the state to not delay the rebuilding work.

He said the state had left it to the committee, which comprises all the shophouse owners, to come up with its own building plan.

“The plan is ready and has been accepted in principle by the authorities,” he added.

Wee, who is also Sarawak Tourism Federation president, said the plan was completed with the help of the Sarawak Heritage Society,

“Despite the delay, the project is progressing well. We have the concept and building plan and are sorting out the legal issues.

“Don’t forget that we are not dealing with one, but six shophouses, and between 12 to 15 co-owners. All of them need to be briefed on the concept, plan and their legal rights and only upon their acceptance can we proceed with the official submission,” he added.

Wee said the reconstruction costs would be borne by the shopowners and not the state.

The estimated cost of rebuilding the shophouse opposite the recently-demolished century-old wet market in Kuching was between RM3mil to RM5mil each, he said.

The total losses due to the fire which partly destroyed five other shoplots was estimated at RM10mil to RM12mil.

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