KUCHING: Sri Aman Division may be renamed Simanggang Division while its capital would retain the name Bandar Sri Aman.
The division and the town used to be both Simanggang. Then on Oct 20, 1973 the communist insurgency in the state ended following the surrender of the director Pasukan Rakyat Kalimantan Utara (Paraku) Bong Kee Chok and his comrades.
Bong and the state government signed a peace agreement at Simanggang and to mark that historic moment, the town was renamed Sri Aman (peace town) while the division was given the same name.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said that he would bring forward the renaming proposal to the state cabinet and hoped that his colleagues would agree to the changes.
“In principle, I agree that the division should be named Simanggang because it’s what the locals call the place whereas Sri Aman refers to the capital of the division,” he said.
He said this when officiating at “Majlis Ramah Ramah Aidilfitri Anak Perantau Melayu Simanggang” at the Dewan Suarah here last Sunday night.
On the development of Simanggang, Abang Johari stated that recently he proposed changes to its master plan.
The additional changes have to do with the upgrading of the roads and the Sri Aman riverbank by establishing a dual carriageway not just focusing on the Astana areas to the Pesta Benak site, but also passing the shops, waterfront extension and villages.
“The master plan will be included in the next State Budget,” he said.
On the coastal highway from Samarahan to Sebuyau, Abang Johari said its major component, the Batang Lupar Bridge, is under construction. From there, the state government will develop the second trunk road from Lingga to Betong.
He also mentioned that the state government had approved seed capital of RM1 million to Koperasi Sri Aman for agricultural development in the division.
Related to that, he advised the Simanggang people to develop their land, not just for planting rice, but also with other valued produce such as MD2 pineapples, rock melons and other fruits which have potential for export.
“This can increase the income of the community provided that they also use structured agricultural method and modern technology such as fertigation,” he said.
“We build roads, we develop land… therefore, don’t ever sell your land. Otherwise you will be left out of the development.”
Also present at the gathering were e-Commerce Assistant Minister cum Entrepreneur and Small, Medium Enterprise (SME) Development Assistant Minister Datuk Mohd Naroden Majais and Lingga assemblywoman Simoi Peri.
The event’s organising chairman was Kameri Affandi who is also permanent secretary to the International Trade and e-Commerce Ministry.