MPP urged to focus on growth

Abang Johari signing the plaque to officially launch the Seban Ring Ladies mural witnessed by (from left) Lo; Minister of Local Government and Housing Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian; MBKS mayor Datuk Wee Hong Seng; MPP deputy chairman Datuk Ahmad Datuk Seri Ibrahim; and Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah. Photo: Ramidi Subari

KUCHING: Padawan Municipal Council (MPP) has been asked to focus on three important sectors — services, tourism and agriculture — for further growth of the municipality.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said this is because these sectors are an added advantage for the council as compared to Kuching South City Council (MBKS) and Kuching North City Commission (DBKU).

“Like DBKU and MBKS, they have the (advantage) from properties. But Padawan has one advantage that is in agriculture and tourism sectors, particular nature tourism,” he said during MPP’s 24th anniversary celebration and the launching of the Last Ring Ladies Mural at Kota Padawan Mall on Monday (Dec 14).

He said comparing MPP areas to DBKU and MBKS, there is still enough land for agriculture development.

“When you talk about agriculture, it has to be technology-based and it does not necessarily require a large piece of land.

“Like the Bidayuh community, they have sizeable native customary rights (NCR) land where they can make use of Internet of Things (IoT) to produce vegetables and cash crops,” he said.

Abang Johari (right) talking to the Semban Ring Ladies (from second left) Peluk Abeh, Singai Nekan and Tawud Luhan. Also seen are Minister of Tourism, Arts, amd Culture Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah (left) and Lo. Photo: Ramidi Subari

He said this has good potential for the community as their land is located near the airport and thus, they can transport the produce directly to the market.

“Singaporeans have been importing Sarawak’s midin (jungle ferns) which is sold at S$60 per kilo. We have been exporting midin to Singapore so much so that our Sarawak Trade and Tourism Office (Statos) has received a lot of enquiries about our local vegetables.”

He said this goes to show that that there is export value and the market is there.

“Plus, Padawan is located between Serian and Kuching, while Samarahan is located not too far on the other side. This means the area is surrounded by all the basic development that has been undertaken in this part of Sarawak.

“Therefore, I think MPP can collaborate with the State Agriculture Department to tap into the potential agricultural products in MPP areas,” he said.

Touching on tourism activities, Abang Johari said there are many natural attractions such as the beautiful Semadang kayaking sites, Annah Rais Bidayuh Longhouse, hot springs, and many others in MPP area.

“These are among the natural attractions in Padawan and it is nearby Kuching. As I have mentioned earlier, there are the three sectors — services, tourism and agriculture — that MPP can look into.

“Thus, I am sure MPP under your chairman (Lo Khere Chiang) and the council members can work this out with a special committee to determine the future of the council, of which is very bright,” he said.

Abang Johari (second right) being briefed by Lo (right) on the areas under the jurisdiction of MPP. Also seen are Minister of Local Government and Housing Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian and Minister of Tourism, Arts, and Culture Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah. Photo: Ramidi Subari