Abang Johari (third left), Juma'ani (second left) and Raziah (fourth left) during the cake-cutting ceremony in honour of BCCK’s 10th anniversary celebration dinner. Also seen are (from left) BCCK directors Datuk Steve Ng and Datuk Seri Tengku Zainal Adlin Tengku Mahamood; Abdul Karim; and Wilson. Photo: Ghazali Bujang

KUCHING: The state government is planning a bridge to link the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) area to Kampung Tanjung Bako and Samarahan, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said.

He mentioned this in his speech during BCCK’s 10th anniversary celebration dinner at the centre last Wednesday night.

Since a bridge is always part of a road system, the state government is also planning to build a road to go with it, but Abang Johari did not speak about the plan in detail.

The road, he said, would link Petra Jaya — the BCCK side — to Samarahan.

Irrespective of its eventual design, the bridge will become a new landmark and an important part of the new improved environment in the area as a whole.

Abang Johari (third left), Juma’ani (second left) and Raziah (fourth left) during the cake-cutting ceremony in honour of BCCK’s 10th anniversary celebration dinner. Also seen are (from left) BCCK directors Datuk Steve Ng and Datuk Seri Tengku Zainal Adlin Tengku Mahamood; Abdul Karim; and Wilson. Photo: Ghazali Bujang

On the BCCK, the chief minister praised if for its vast achievements and success over the past 10 years during which it had made contributions to the economy of Sarawak.

He pointed out that BCCK had contributed an estimated RM92 million to Sarawak’s supply network since the centre’s inception in 2009.

“BCCK, which mainly attracted business events, has also directly contributed to Sarawak’s tourism receipts amounting to RM7.95 billion in 2018,” he said.

“It has been recorded that business tourists spend on average nearly triple that of leisure tourists.”

He also mentioned the state government’s emphasis on tourism under the 12th Malaysia Plan when it would spend a substantial amount of investment in the services sector and upgrading Sarawak’s national parks including Bako National Park and Niah National Park.

For the arts, he said the former State Legislative Assembly (DUN) building will be transformed into a performing arts centre. The idea is to attract art lovers to come to Sarawak, and the place can be used to stage plays and musicals.

The chief minister said that the Sarawak Museum Campus which will be opened early next year will be a great attraction too.

In her speech, BCCK chairperson Datuk Raziah Mahmud-Geneid said the centre had hosted close to 1,665 events and welcomed over two million clients and delegates from all over the globe since it first opened its doors.

“BCCK’s impact on Sarawak has been substantial, delivering RM266.7 million in total economic impact over the past six years,” she said.

She said that BCCK was formed as a state initiative to grow Sarawak’s international business tourism through the hosting of business events.

“BCCK has proudly positioned itself as a multiple award-winning convention centre, with international accolades such as the International Association of Convention Centres (AIPC) Gold Quality Standard Certification.

“This places BCCK in an elite group of only 23 other AIPC convention centres in the world to receive such an honour, out of more than 185 international convention centres,” Raziah said.

In addition, she said that the centre was recognised as one of the top 17 finalists for the AIPC Apex Award ‘Best Client Rated Convention Centre’ and it had also been accepted by the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry as its member.

“BCCK will not rest on its laurels. We will continue to proudly represent Sarawak and provide world-class meeting and convention facilities and do our part in supporting the state tourism initiative,” she said.

Also present at the dinner were the chief minister’s wife Datuk Amar Juma’ani Tun Tuanku Bujang; Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah; Deputy State Secretary Datuk Ik Pahon Joyik and his wife Datin Gloria Gembong; and BCCK executive director Tan Sri Datuk Amar Wilson Baya Dandot.