It was only about 30 years ago that the local population in Miri began to reap the fruits of the oil exploration industry in this mineral-rich division.
Madeline Nguh ak Sambang, 56, who saw the transformation of Miri, said that before 1980, only the expatriates working with Shell enjoyed the good life while the majority of the locals had to struggle and toil for survival.
“Most of the locals in Miri were involved in small-scale trading, fishing and manual labour. There were a lot of big squatter colonies throughout the town, mostly occupied by locals. Only those employed in the oil industry had good housing facilities and a good income.
“It was during the late 70s that the local population started to prosper, making greater headway in the social and economic sectors. Housing estates started mushrooming all over the place and then more and more businesses opened up, including banking facilities, transportation companies and agriculture estates.
“The Miri we see today is totally different from that about 20 to 30 years ago,” said the Iban lady, who is a popular native handicraft entrepreneur.
Madeline came to Miri from her hometown in Mukah, central Sarawak, more than 30 years ago, and has since made this city her permanent home.
Business prospects has flourished by leaps and bounds in Miri in recent years, and she feels that the city status accorded to Miri will propel this division to greater heights.
The company she owns, Mag Craft Sdn Bhd, sells the popular Iban textile pua kumbu which is very popular with Bruneians as well as foreigners.
Madeline feels that this new city is an ideal place for investments as the pace of growth keeps rising every year and she hopes that more innovative tourism projects would be implemented to make Miri a vibrant, exciting and nicecity.
The government has done a great job in ensuring a well-balanced growth in public sectors, especially in ensuring good employment opportunities and making available enough affordable houses, she noted.
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