KUCHING: Tabuan Jaya Neighbourhood Park has been renamed Mayor Song Swee Guan Park, the first of numerous parks to be named after former Kuching South City Council (MBKS) mayors.
Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian said this was an official recognition of Song’s eight years as the first mayor of MBKS and before that as chairman of the Kuching Municipal Council (KMC).
He said this tribute showed the best of Asian culture and values in recognising those who had contributed significantly when in office.
He hoped the younger generation would uphold such traditions as well.
“It can be just as simple as naming a park after them. I am very grateful that MBKS mayor Datuk Wee Hong Seng and the council have supported this idea.
“This is the first of many parks because MBKS and KMC have had many mayors before so they will work their way through,” he said.
Dr Sim said this while officiating at the official naming ceremony of the park in Tabuan Jaya here today (Apr 12) in conjunction with Song’s 80th birthday.
Dr Sim said a dinner party could not be held to celebrate Song’s birthday due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This morning’s ceremony, even though it is very simple, I think, is very meaningful,” he said.
Meanwhile, Wee said it was good to name parks after those who had contributed towards society.
“I think most of the time we tend to forget what others have contributed in the past for us,” he said.
“We would like to record our appreciation to Datuk Song on behalf of all the residents and also the staff of MBKS,” he added.
Wee said the council was concentrating on improving park facilities, including those at Kenyalang Park in order to serve the public better.
Thankful that the park was named in his honour, Song said, “Thank you very much, everybody. I hope that we can all work together in the future and be very happy together.”
He served as the KMC chairman from 1982 to 1988, the year the municipality was elevated to city status. He then became the founding mayor of MBKS and continued to serve for another eight years from 1988 to 1996. After that, he was appointed as Sarawak State Legislative Assembly Speaker.
Song had also previously served as Bandar Kuching MP and Padungan assemblyman.
He was among the pioneers in greening the city and his policies on education, urban poverty eradiation, job creation, vocational training, and infrastructure development form the cornerstone of today’s Kuching South.
Song officially retired in 2001.