Rivers to serve as ‘highways’

Miri Acting Resident Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusuf (third left) hands over the outcome of the discussion over the two-day event to Lee while others look on.

MIRI: Despite having built many roads in the rural areas, the state government will continue to develop Sarawak’s riverine economy by utilising the main rivers as ‘highways’, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said this would allow for the efficient, safe and secure movements of bulk products at minimal costs.

“I am sure the Baram River has contributed a lot to the growth of Miri town over the past years and we cannot ignore its importance in moving Miri’s economy forward,” he said.

His text-of-speech was read by Transport Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin at the closing ceremony of the two-day Greater Miri Development Master Plan Lab 2020 at Pullman Miri Waterfront Hotel here today.

At the same time, the chief minister also highlighted Miri’s vast potential in the agriculture and tourism sectors which could be further developed.

He pointed out that Miri had contributed significantly to the state’s tourism industry, especially through the inflow of Bruneian tourists.

“In 2019, Miri recorded 1.2 million Bruneian tourists. Miri is also the gateway for the state’s main attractions in the northern region, especially Mulu National Park.

“We have close bilateral economic cooperation with Brunei Darussalam, whereby the tourism sector is one of the areas of cooperation we are working on closely with them,” said Abang Johari.

He said the manufacturing and forestry sectors in Miri would be further developed as well, adding that high-value manufacturing industries would be prioritised to propel the recovery of Sarawak’s economy.

“We will continue to generate and sustain economic returns from our forest produce through advancing in value-added manufacturing processing activities to develop high-value timber products. I believe Miri will play an important role in this area,” he said.

Abang Johari also emphasised the need to have a strategic plan to ensure road connectivity as well as water and electricity supply coverage across Miri Division, which had challenging geographical areas and scattered population.