City council gives thumbs-up to tram

Service will give tourists a chance to explore Miri: Mayor

MIRI: The Miri City Council (MCC) has given the thumbs-up to the city tram which it has received from Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) with the mayor, Datuk Wee Han Wen, as saying that it would give tourists in the city a chance to explore the many attractions and places of interest.

Assistant Minister of Infrastructure Development and Communication Lee Kim Shin, who is also the chairman of Miri City Incorporated, had said that the tram service would commence sometime in March.

The service would only be used by paying hotel guests to see tourist attractions in the city with the possible route likely to start at Marriott Resort & Spa, and passing through the old business district, shopping complexes, the award winning Miri City Fan, Saberkas and Boulevard shopping centres.

Among the places of interest in the city are Miri Heritage Centre, Tamu Muhibbah, Saberkas Weekend Market, Petroleum Museum and the Grand Old Lady (Malaysia First Oil Well) atop Canada Hill, Miri City Fan, Taman Awam Miri, Taman Selera, Tua Pek Kong Temple and San Ching Tian Taoist temple.

To ensure the success of the service, the operator will need proper co-ordination from all parties involved, like hoteliers, tour operators and the management of shopping and commercial centres, Wee said yesterday.

He however felt that there might be times when the tram service was not used to the fullest because of tourist having their own itineraries while they were here. Also, its almost impossible to gather them in one place at the same time in order to get them onboard the tram.

With such a scenario, a truly workable plan and the cooperation of all parties involved would be needed to make the service workable, he said.

He also said he agreed to the proposal that the major stakeholders having to contribute to the operational costs.

Among those involved are the Miri Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry with its chairman made the chairman of the management committee, Sarawak Bumiputera Entrepreneur Council of Miri, and Miri Transport Company (MTC) which is owned by Koperasi Serbaguna Miri to provide the maintenance service.

The (tram) service, Wee added, would be run on a one-year trial here. Sarawak Tourism Board introduced free tram service in Kuching in 2003, the first of its kind in Malaysia.

It was later handed over to Sarawak Tourists Federation (STF) in 2005, but was returned a year later to STB due to the high operating cost.