He has seen it all


  • Nation
  • Friday, 20 May 2005

Miri's growth accelerated in the 1980s and this coincided with the time Barisan Nasional wrestled control of the constituency here. 

According to 63-year-old Lee Nan Hiung, the stability brought about by the Barisan victory gave the confidence to the business community to come here. 

“Banks, big retail companies, vehicle companies, road and housing construction companies, land developing and agriculture companies started flowing into Miri in the early parts of the 1980s,” said Lee, who is an office assistant at the Sarawak United People’s Party headquarters here. 

He denies that his views are bias just because he works for a component party as the facts speaks for itself. 

“The real turning point was in 1982 when Tan Sri Dr George Chan won in Miri. From then on, Barisan kept winning and all kinds of development continued to flow in. 

“Before that, the only investors were the oil and timber giants,” said Lee, a jovial man who smiles a lot and behave and look much younger than his age. 

Lee, who has lived here all his life, is a walking encyclopaedia of Miri. He remembers very minute details from the good old days just like as though it was yesterday. 

“The roads inside Miri village were so bad that even bicycles got stuck as the roads were only made of sand. 

“There were only a few rows of sundry shops during my schooldays. Most of the workers were outsiders coming here to work in the oil and timber companies,” he said. 

Lee said that about a decade ago, big commercial centres started mushrooming, until today there are eight different commercial centres within the city itself. 

Asked what is unique about Miri, Lee said it was the way all ethnic groups seem to get a fair share of the goodies here. 

“Schooling facilities are very good. Chinese schools are aplenty, so are mission schools and national government schools. 

“Medical services have improved a lot. This I saw with my own eyes but there is still a need for improvement because of the fast expanding population. 

“Miri also has facilities for people of all faiths,” he said. 

Lee foresees that Miri would become even more vibrant following the attainment of city status but hoped that this city would not end up with the negatives that have infected so many other cities that ignored the human side of development.  

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