Economic spill-over will benefit rural areas

Dr Lee Kuok Tiung

KUCHING: The development of rural areas near Kuching will be boosted if the city is made the nation’s second capital, said an academician.

Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) senior lecturer Prof Dr Lee Kuok Tiung welcomed the proposal, adding that it would benefit the state.

“I think it’s a good idea. This is because you never know if Malaysia’s capital city will move (from Kuala Lumpur) to Sabah or Sarawak one day.

“Certainly on the economic and development fronts, large amount of funds will be spent on developing the new administrative centre.

“All the areas that connect to the capital city will definitely feel the economic overflow from it,” he said when contacted by the New Sarawak Tribune.

He was commenting on the proposal by Senator Jaziri Alkaf Abdillah Suffian to make Kuching the second capital of Malaysia in line with the relocation of Indonesia’s capital city to Borneo island.

At the same time, Lee dismissed the notion that the cost of living for city dwellers in Kuching would increase following the move.

“The cost of living is something that is subjective because, for example, in Sabah, who would have thought that the cost of living is higher than Kuala Lumpur.” he said.

On Tuesday, Jaziri, who is also Perikatan Nasional (PN) Sarawak chairman, pointed out the relocation of Indonesia’s new capital to Kalimantan in Borneo was expected to bring positive economic effects to Malaysia, especially Sarawak and Sabah.

“Kuching can be made the second capital of Malaysia if deemed appropriate, given the position of Borneo itself which will be the focus and focal point for the Asean region when the new Indonesian capital is fully completed in a few years’ time,” he said.

Jaziri said Indonesia’s new capital, expected to be located between Penajam Paser Utara and Kutai Kartanegara, was predicted to be fully operational by 2025 with a total of USD32 billion being allocated for its purpose.

“This development will certainly strengthen bilateral relations between Malaysia and Indonesia because more people will visit each other and is expected to bring prosperity to the region of Kalimantan.

“The economic spill-over from the move (by Indonesia) will benefit Sarawak and Sabah,” he said.