KUCHING: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has approved an additional RM5 million for the construction of a sport cum community hall at the former site of Ang Cheng Ho Quarry by the intersection of Jalan Batu Kawa and Jalan Stephen Yong. This brings the total allocation for the project to RM15 million.
“RM10 million is not enough and Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian has requested for an additional RM5 million. For Batu Kawa, no problem, we will provide an additional RM5 million,” he said.
Abang Johari said this when officiating at the earth-breaking ceremony of the project today (Jan 5).
Earlier in his speech, Dr Sim requested for the additional fund, explaining that the budget of RM9.8 million had not taken into consideration the cost of land acquisition and road access.
Abang Johari described the project as a creative and innovative one which would turn an abandoned area into a recreation ground for the people of Batu Kawa.
He pointed out that the quarry used to produce stones for the construction of roads and other projects since the colonial times until independence was achieved.
“However, we eventually could not extract stones anymore due to the ecosystem and landscape issues,” he said.
“Thus, Dr Sim, who is also Batu Kawah assemblyman, proposed that the area be developed in line with developments around his constituency, Bau and Kuching. And the state government had agreed to the proposal.”
The chief minister pointed out that he had also recently announced efforts to change the economic function of Bau from a former gold mining area into a tourism hub.
“Batu Kawa is in between Bau and Kuching so it will get some spill-over effects of development on either side, meaning that the whole area from Batu Kawa up to Bau will be transformed within the next five years,” he said.
Abang Johari added that the state government would also focus on roads in Batu Kawa area to facilitate the development of affordable housing estates.
“We have a formula for this to help the people so that they can buy affordable houses,” he said.
In addition, the chief minister said Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) Energy Sdn Bhd also aimed to set up a three-in-one station in Batu Kawa to cater for vehicles powered by fossil fuel, electricity and hydrogen fuel cells.
“We are the only state in Malaysia and perhaps the only area in this region to have a three-in-one station,” he said.
During the ceremony, Abang Johari also witnessed the handover of a letter of acceptance from Padawan Municipal Council (MPP) chairman Lo Khere Chiang (right) to Tenaga Seri Wangsa Sdn Bhd managing director Hong Boon Swee.