MIRI (Apr 13): A Greater Miri Development Master Plan for the next decades is in the offing to position the city as the economic hub for this division, providing supporting services, infrastructure, facilities, amenities and market to support the hinterland.
According to Transport Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin, the elected representatives from the state’s ruling coalition Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) and government agencies have sat down to brainstorm this masterplan for 2021-2030,which is now awaiting state authorities’ nod.
“Miri city’s sustainable growth and development would need to have good infrastructure and ICT connectivity, as well as linkages to its hinterland – namely Baram, Telang Usan, Beluru and Subis districts,” he said at the launch of ‘Miri Smart City’ yesterday, where Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg officiated at the event.
Lee said the ultimate goal under this development master plan was for Miri to be a ‘Smart Sustainable City’, but added that that it was imperative to look into the present and future macro-development goals and the connectivity with the hinterland of this division to ensure that the growth would be sustainable.
“We held a two-day lab, on Dec 1-2, 2020, on the proposed list of programmes and projects plus the funding required, up for YAB (Chief Minister)’s consideration and approval,” he said.
Participants of the lab included the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) of Sarawak, as well as various ministries, departments and agencies.
The lab acknowledged that this division had a diversified economy with vast potential – namely in oil and gas, ship-building, timber-related industry, oil palm, commercial agriculture, fisheries, education and tourism.
Meanwhile, Lee requested to Abang Johari for approval of the proposed construction of Miri Bus Terminal along the upcoming Pan Borneo Highway, at the site flanked by the present Miri Bypass and Jalan Cahaya leading to Miri Hospital cross-junction.
He said the implementation of RM1 Flat Rate Bus Fare Programme in Sarawak, mooted by the Chief Minister, had proven to be ‘an overwhelming success’ – driving up ridership exponentially to 1,577,415 passengers by February this year, from merely 12,657 in May last year.
In Miri, the number shot up from 7,823 passengers in May last year, to 517,344 passengers in February this year, he added.
Lee said the flat-rate bus fare programme had helped revive bus services and also address congestion in some major roads across the state; at the same time, it had also helped ease the financial burden off the people during this Covid-19 pandemic period.
He added that his ministry would be working closely with the EPU, Ministry of Local Government and Housing, and other related agencies in improving infrastructure and amenities, including closed-circuit televisions (CCTSVs, under the 12th Malaysia Plan, to further attract people to use buses as their preferred mode of transportation.
According to him, the Miri Smart City mobile application now enables passengers to know the exact location of buses and the time of arrival.
He also expressed hope that the Miri City Council, after taking over the various ICT facilities, would continue to add on more initiatives and updates from time to time.
He called for good maintenance by the council and support from all Mirians to prevent vandalism of the facilities, saying: “It will be meaningless to have high technology equipment and systems if they’re not functioning properly – or worst, not functioning at all.”