LAST_UPDATEMon, 25 Jun 2018 10am

Sibu Progressing Well Since Formation Of Malaysia

SIBU -- From a small fishing and farming village during the White Rajah era, Sibu grew by leaps and bounds to become a commercial hub in the colonial times.

And seven years after Sarawak, Sabah and Federation of Malaya formed Malaysia on September 16, 1963, Sibu continued to become a booming town in the 70s.

Thanks to the timber industry, Sibu witnessed rapid development in the 80s, came second place as the most progressing division after Kuching.

Infrastructure and property development began to take shape and created business opportunities, attracting those in the rural areas to migrate and look for jobs to improve their livelihood.

Unfortunately, the timber industry started to decline in the late 90s, but the spin-off effect that it had brought led to the emergence of diversified heavy and light industry, such as shipping, that saw products being exported abroad.

“Sibu saw a lot of changes over the past years. It has three bridges namely the Igan Bridge, Lanang Bridge and Batang Rajang Bridge which connect Sibu with the other areas. They help people to move around and certainly boost economic activities.

“We can see a lot of people coming to Sibu these days, either for business or for pleasure. If this is not the sign of development, I don’t know what is,” said Bejau Japang, a 43 year-old civil servant who hailed from Song and has been living in Sibu since 2002.

In terms of education, she said there were now the University College of Technology, Laila Taib College, Sarawak Maritime Academy and Woodlands International School in Sibu.

The business landscape in Sibu has also seen a lot of changes, said Danny Wong, 50, who works for a private company here.

“Sibu is predominantly a Chinese town, but since the recent years we have seen more and more Bumiputera getting involved in business, especially as food outlet operators.

“This is a good thing as we can enjoy each other’s specialties. We have Malay/Melanau food, Dayak food and Chinese food, apart from the western ones, depicting beautiful side of our diversity here,” said Wong who is from Bintangor.

He said the Bumiputera had upgraded themselves from being merely roadside stall operators to coffeeshop proprietors.

The setting up of an Urban Transformation Centre (UTC) at Mission Road here had helped to deliver public services to the people.

“Putting state and federal agencies under one roof is really a great thing to the people, especially those from the rural areas. Services are rendered efficiently and people don’t have to go far from one place to another,” said Taylor Dom.

Not only the people do not have to spend much of their time waiting, they could also do marketing at Sibu Central Market, which is adjacent to UTC.

He said a lot could be said about the development in Sibu, with some seeing it from different angles and aspects  and could spark endless debate.

Whatever it is, he said, one must be appreciative for the little things that took place and somehow helped to transform Sibu from being an ugly duckling in the past to a beautiful swan it is now.

“Of course Sibu has yet to have what many other places have enjoyed at the moment, but to say it is not progressing at all is wrong. While we yearn for a lot more development, let us continue to safeguard our unity in this multiracial society of ours.

“Unity will be the key for greater future development of Sibu,” he said, adding that the spirit of unity should continue to be observed in celebrating the Malaysia Day.