Thursday, March 12, 2009

Tanjung Manis - A City in the making

Gold Arawana visit the fast develop and the making of Tanjung Manis City....

In recent years, Tanjung Manis suddenly become a popular place in the media as well as on the Map of Sarawak. This former fishermen’s village of Belawai is currently connected only by rivers.

Two history of Tanjung Manis; 1. The fishermen's boat at Tanjung Manis (Above) and 2. The oldest road paved road in Tanjung Manis(Below)

In 2002, Tanjung Manis, formerly under the administration of Sarikei Division being put up under new administration of Daro District which is under the new Mukah Division. However, the locality which takes about one hour and forty five minutes by speedboat looks easier to be under Sarikei Division which takes only half an hour from Sarikei Town. It is not an upset for the locals anyway, as they still prefer to travel to Sibu and Sarikei for their daily needs as well as the dealing with the Government Agencies. For this traditionally river champion, nothing much changes on the administrative center.

Workers and passengers busy loading and unloading on an Express Boat. Currently, Tanjung Manis is only accessible by boat.

Under the developments, this area has overcome huge changes on the basic infrastructures as well as mega projects. In fact, the first wave of the development being constructed for past five or ten years which make Tanjung Manis a white elephant at this moment. Until all the roads, which is under construction to construct the missing link to Sibu and the bigger town in Sarawak, most people (even I myself during my first visit) agreed that the roads in Tanjung Manis (or well known as Belawai Sub-District) are monkey roads. The total road lengths in this area are more than the total vehicles that really needs the roads. However, that is development, nobody could see the impact before it realize to the real dreams of the Government.

The view of the Tanjung Manis Deep Sea Port. It is in operation, but yet to fully utilized by the locals. A great example of "Building for the future".

Tanjung Manis Deep Sea Port, reported to be the most sophisticated and the biggest of it alike in the state have proof itself to be the main factor that will facilitate the developments. Nobody could argue on this, as for now, ships and vessels are the first to welcome the visitors who visit Tanjung Manis. The only thing not sure on is either the fisherman tug-boat on the area is really belonging to the locals. It is reported that most of the boats are from other country with license to fish on the Malaysian territory.

Tanjung Manis airport. A modern airport with beautiful landscape. The only leaking is nobody land on it, or just occassionally.

Tanjung Manis Airport which is completed for more than five years ago might be considered a real white elephant project. This nice airport with modern facilities, which could accommodate Fokker-50, is used only occasionally. Once, the Mas Wings and Hornbill Skyways fly from Mukah and Kuching but stop their operation perhaps due to fewer passengers. Most locals, who are fishermen and farmers, prefer to use river as their mode of transport which offer them much cheaper than the air. As such, the only passenger for the airplane are normally those who working with the developers and government servant on their official duties.

A beautiful view from Sarawak River Board tower at Tanjung Manis. Its really a heaven for the natural beauties lovers.

Other government agencies, formally only located themselves at the bigger towns as their headquarter are now slowly constructed their office on the area. The beautiful, modern office of Lembaga Sungai Sarawak (Sarawak River Board) and Jabatan Imigresen are completed and located at the beautiful one of a peninsula in Tanjung Manis. This hopefully will at least control the immigrant to freely enter Sarawak.

Government Quarters, built in different shape and materials to accommodate the officers, who will assist on the upcoming developments. Unfortunately, most of the quarters, as well as the low cost housing are abundant. Some people believe that the time will come when the houses will be fully occupied.
The bridges under construction (Below). The ferry operations will be just a history in few coming months (Above).

With the amazing announcement on the SCORE (Sarawak Corridor of Renewal Energy) by government, gives the new hopes for the second or third wave of the development of Tanjung Manis. More and more developments are ongoing, giving out thousands of job vacancies to the locals. Bridges and trunk roads to Sibu are well progressed, which will realize the dreams to see Tanjung Manis as the most important Port in Sarawak, maybe Borneo…who knows?

The last day for a tree in one of the site for Halal Park. Construction are everywhere. Sandfilling works remind me on Dubai, it should become like Dubai in the future.

Tanjung Manis Halal Park, earthbreaking launched by YAB PM recently reflect how serious the Government on realizing a develop Tanjung Manis. Logging, the industry that has geared up the development in the first place seems no way to stop. Factories on the processing the wood products still the main industry in Tanjung Manis. However, with the forest and the trees are getting less in time, halal food processing are the potential industry to take place.

Beautiful white sandy beach of Belawai. A future tourists attraction in Tanjung Manis.

Most of the beaches in central region are normally have no attraction, polluted, smell of swamp and dirt on colour. The turbid water and polluted as the side effect of the logging activities gives no hopes for the tourism industry. However, it is totally different in Tanjung Manis, Belawai Beach is made up of clean sandy beach. Except for the waste logs, floating from all parts of Sarawak, the beach has the most beautiful beach in the region. Not many beach lovers know the secrets for the time being, because of leak in term of promotion and no infrastructures at all. The locals still cannot see the potential, as nobody pouring their effort to built resort or any tourist facilities. When the time comes, when the outsiders has their intention on developing the tourism in Tanjung Manis, it might be too late for the locals. As usual, the will work for others, on their own land.

The sleepy town of Tanjung Manis.

As per my last visit, the crime rates in Tanjung Manis are scarying. For a remote area with less entertainment to influence peolple on the dirty life style, two or three cases on the floating human bodies cannot be seen as minor. Furthermore, it was reported that the victims are the non-nationality of Malaysia. This is seen to be more serious if more developments carried out, creating a bigger Tanjung Manis.

The bad impact of development. Dredging of sand gives way to great erosion in one of the settlement in Belawai. Finally, government have to spend extra money for the rehabilitation...

As Tanjung Manis is growing, food industries are in good business. The locals grab good opportunities on this. The land price are bounching, three or four folds or maybe higher than before. The greedy locals will see this as their opportunities for easy money. At the end, they will suffer to fight even for their own graveyard! More and more outsiders migrating in, means they need entertainment. The life style change significantly, plays the very basic changes to the youngsters. For the isolated kampongs, usually live in low-profile culture definetely will face the culture shock. It just my imagination...

The future of the locals is uncertained. They hope that the developments will give them benefit. A matter of hopes!

For the next five or ten years, the new Tanjung Manis will be born. New city in the jungle is rising up, and another landmark will put Sarawak on the globe. The ferries, boats, and wooden structures will be a history. However, how much the developments will benefit the locals is perflexity. Today, Tanjung Manis is just a small town, with empty shop houses and empty building, which are not reflecting the actual money being spent by Government for it. For a small town, it starts fielding the outsiders on their odd language that I myself cannot understand. They are the main contributors that give business to the traders. When it develops to a city, what worried me is that, opportunities for us, Malaysian is closed. For those who are rich, will get richer, and for the poor will be poorer. The time will come when this new city will lord the lands of the landlords.
Tanjung Manis... To develop this multi islands...surrounded by water is a great challenge for the engineers.. However it has proof that technology can overcome all the problems.


Toh Chee Leong's Collections said...

Where is my former Immigration Tanjung Manis Office project photo's? hahaha. Kemana pergi sahaja mesti ada sahaja Pakcik Toh punyai tahi cicak.hahahaaa...

imhkki said...

there should be a good market for geosynthetics. :))

Gold Arawana said...

Pakcik Toh;

Haiyaaa...sorry that I always forget on yours...Anyway, you have lots of contributions which should later remembered by the locals...

Gold Arawana said...

Mr Imhkki;

Thanks for your suggestion.

I am agreed with that. In Fact, most of the road constructions in central region of Sarawak now are using geotextiles.

I am not an expert on the geosynthetics, but it looks interesting.

Engineering Technology will always can over-rules the problem...I believed.

Hipani said...

The old road linking Kg Belawai to Kg Rejang is the first and the only concrete road that I know in Sarawak that link two major settlement. Others are mostly Kpg roads. It was done by direct labour in the earlier days (If I am not wrong) and it is an achievement as it has served the 2 villages for almost 2 decades.

2. May be we can constructed concrete road again in Sarawak using available technology today.

Gold Arawana said...

Dear Hipani;

Thanks for the comment.

I agree with that...concrete roads (and or rigid pavement) to be built in very remote areas which are not accessible by roads... Sarawak still have thousands of kilometers of roads in rural and scattered settlements ... judge by my naked eye, anyway...

It is crucial to upgrade the Belawai concrete road to promote the tourism in Belawai. Anyway, bravo thanks of millionaire to the JKR direct labour who built this "history road" which can sustain for decades, and still counting on his age....

Anonymous said...

Hi can you tell me if there are any hotels in Tanjung Manis or is it better to stay in Sarikei or even Sibu? Jen

Gold Arawana said...

Thanks Jen;

To stay at Sibu or Sarikei is the best choice..

Bluegrape said...

sounds like a sleepy town indeed,where do youngsters go to for a fun day out?

Gold Arawana said...

Thanks Bluegrape..

Be honest, I have no ide on that. But I guess that they would prefer to go to the nearby town like Sibu or Sarikei..