Sarawak Urban Development Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg

Sarawak is introducing an urban renewal policy aimed at re-developing certain sections of cities and towns in the state that have turned into slums.

State Housing and Urban Development Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said today the policy included re-developing deplorable housing estates to make way for better and environment-friendly neighbourhoods.

“After 20 or 30 years there will be a new generation of people already. It (the property) is no longer (held by) the original owner. The new generation would want a modern living and want to get the family closely-knit,” he said.

He made these remarks at a news conference after a tree-planting ceremony at the Taman Permai housing estate in Tudan, about 20km north of the city here.

He said Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud had given the green light to introduce this policy under the state development plan in view that several urban areas had turned into slums after being in existence for over three decades.

“If the place is really run down, cannot be rehabilitated, then the urban renewal development comes in,” Abang Johari said.

On a different subject, he said the state government had submitted a request for additional allocations from the federal government to build another 3,000 units of affordable houses to meet the population’s needs in the city.

The federal government had approved its earlier request for the construction of 3,000 units of affordable houses and 1,500 units of rental flats but the number was just enough to meet about half of the housing demand here, he added.

He said Miri had over 8,000 families living in squatter colonies and the government was racing against time to eliminate the squatter problems in the city by 2015.

“After 2013, we may request for some more because we know that the population here has increased. Hopefully by 2015, we will have settled the squatter problems” he added. — Bernama