Datuk Wee Hong Seng

KUCHING: The Kuching South City Council (MBKS) will revive the Padungan area through its urban renewal project.

Datuk Wee Hong Seng

Its mayor Datuk Wee Hong Seng stated that MBKS would dig out all relevant information on the old and present Padungan before implementing the project.

“Currently, we are doing the planning and paperwork which also involves Kuching North City Commission (DBKU) (because the site is partially under the latter’s jurisdiction).

“After the endorsement, it will be proposed under the 12th Malaysia Plan. The implementation is within five years subject to final approval by the state government,” he told reporters after chairing an MBKS council meeting yesterday.

Wee further said that the project would start with the Heroes’ Monument which had been returned to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.

“From this, we will be able to look forward to the organisation of Remembrance Day this year in the first week of November,” he said.

Wee also said that there was little truth that Padungan seemed like it was going down because it wasn’t vibrant and rather quiet at night.

He said MBKS was trying to revive Padungan because it was also known as China Town, but no China Town ever sleeps at 5pm or 6pm.

“That is why we will try to dig up the hidden potential heritage value in Padungan including the Heroes’ Monument.

“From the old pictures and at present, we can see that the lanes along Padungan and the buildings are still well-maintained so we are going to look into how we can make use of the more than 20 lanes in between the shophouses.

“Meanwhile, if you look at the back of the shophouses, there are back lanes so we want to see how well we can use them in order to have two shops back to back -– one in the front, one in the back,” he continued.

On the urban renewal of Kuching city as a whole, Wee said that it was a roadmap for a smart and healthy concept by the MBKS which will also be proposed to the state government and put under the 12MP.

“The first step on our management side, we have put MBKS, DBKU and Padawan Municipal Council (MPP) together and set up a joint committee to connect our management side and then we will start to connect the people around Kuching area through infrastructure and urban renewal system that we will work on.

“As a start, we will undertake proper planning on how to curb traffic congestion through installation of smart traffic lights in all three jurisdiction areas so that there will be free flow of traffic all the way.

“Other things include standard public charges, compounds, banners and other public rules where we will find common grounds to take the same action.

“From there, we will go down onto the by-laws and ordinance that include our business signboards and illegal extensions of commercial premises. “We already have two meetings between the three committees and the third one will be hosted by us,” he continued.