From a fishing village with some 14,000 inhabitants back in the 1970s to becoming a prosperous industrial town with its people enjoying an increasingly healthy and quality life, Bintulu’s story of growth is nothing short of remarkable. In just less than half a century, careful planning has transformed Bintulu into a modern town with good infrastructure and brisk development. And with a population of more than 250,000, the town today pulsates with life. Its town centre attracts big crowds that flock to its restaurants and commercial centres. New hotels, condominiums and megamalls are being built to cater to the needs of the increasingly urban population. Just like Sibu, Miri and Kuching, Bintulu has its own major festival – Borneo International Kite Festival, a 7th Hornbill Awards-winning event that has captured international attention, putting Bintulu on the world map. Its urban attractions are contrasted by its natural lures such as the Tanjung Batu Beach and Similajau National Park. And then there is the Samalaju Industrial Park, an energy-intensive heavy industries enclave that has attracted multiple foreign investments.
Forty years of development
In a short span of 40 years, Bintulu Development Authority (BDA) has managed to bring tremendous change to Bintulu. This change took place in three phases, namely oil & gas (1980s), agriculture (1990s) with oil palm as the main product, and Samalaju Industrial Park, which remains the biggest success under the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE). The industrial park, which covers an area of 8,000 hectares, houses domestic and foreign companies engaging in aluminium smelting, steel, oil refining, silica-based industries, marine engineering as well as other industrial and commercial activities, with investment totalling RM25 billion.
BDA’s vision for Bintulu has been to ultimately transform the town into a Friendly Industrial City; a city with conducive living conditions where its citizens can live a happy and healthy, worry-free life. To achieve this, BDA carried out the Bintulu Central Business District Study (2005), Bintulu Urban and Regional Study (2006), and the Development of Jepak – Kuala Tatau, Samarakan Area (2017). These have so far yielded impressive results and helped to improve the quality of life of its citizens.
More to come
With all that achieved in the past 40 years, there is no sign of slowing down for BDA. It is looking to implement more development projects to ensure further growth of Bintulu. Jepak area will benefit a great deal, with three confirmed projects including the building of the second Batang Kemena Bridge, the relocation of Government offices to Jepak, and the establishment of Bintulu Museum. Other projects that have been planned for Jepak, include a village resettlement scheme as part of an urban renewal project, the building of a recreational park and the museum as well as the possibility of a land reclamation project on the estuary of Kemena River. Meanwhile, expansion and upgrading works are also planned for Tatau and Sebauh Districts where Tatau will receive new recreational facilities as well as a service centre in Kuala Tatau.BDA is also looking into the development and wellbeing of the Bintulu citizens. Various awareness campaigns have been lined up to educate the public on issues regarding security and safety, community wellbeing and vandalism. Recreational facilities and open spaces in Bintulu are being improved and upgraded, including Taman Tumbina, Tanjung Batu Beach and Taman Millennium. Additionally, a landscaped garden will be built at the Old Bintulu Airport site while petty traders will benefit from the opening of more trading spaces at Tanjung Batu, ABF Beach, Kampung Assayakirin and the Pasar Malam. More recreational areas and children’s playgrounds will also be built.
Keeping Bintulu spotless
An on-going initiative by BDA is their Anti-Litterbug Campaign, the latest being the Anti-Litter Walk that was participated by the Right Honourable Chief Minister of Sarawak, Datuk Patinggi Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari bin Tun Abang Haji Openg on July 29, 2018 at Kampung Jepak. The Anti-Litter in Kampung Jepak was the highlight for the series of its Anti-Litter Campaign, which debuted on Jan 8, 2018 in Bintulu town. The programme aims to create awareness among the citizens of Bintulu on keeping the town clean and healthy by inculcating the values of anti-litter. Through the programme, BDA works closely with the community, government agencies, departments, schools, business communities and political parties in an on-going effort to keep Bintulu clean.Celebrating 40 years of progress As part of its 40 years anniversary, BDA held its 3rd Bintulu Town Hall at the Dewan Suarah Bintulu on July 28, where issues concerning the townsfolk were heard and addressed by Abang Zohari. The Chief Minister launched the Development Exhibition on the ground floor of the Dewan Suarah after the Townhall meeting. The celebration culminated with a gala dinner at Dinner World Restaurant, Bintulu Central, where BDA staff and invited guests were entertained by specially invited artistes Bob Usop and Siti Sarah Raisuddin, among others. Key highlights of the dinner included an announcement of benefits and incentives for staff as well as future plans for retraining of its retirees by BDA’s General Manager, Puan Rodziah Morshidi to much cheers and claps across the event hall.