Plant flowers so our roads don't look so dull, Sarawak premier tells Kuching city councils
KUCHING, March 17 — Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg today asked Kuching North City Hall (DBKU) and Kuching South City Council (MBKS) to beautify the city’s roads with flowering plants.
He said the state government would provide funds to the two local authorities for the initiative so the roadsides do not look dull.
“I hope the Forestry Corporation can provide the plants because we want our city roads to look beautiful with flowers and not dull as we see them now,” he said at the opening of the three-day Borneo International Garden Expo Sarawak 2023 at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching.
He said he was in Saudi Arabia last week and noticed that the cities in that country are planted with colourful flowers.
“Jeddah itself is beautiful with colourful flowers. The Saudi Arabian government is putting emphasis on horticulture,” he said, stressing that Saudi Arabia can plant colourful flowers even in the hot desert areas.
“I told my colleagues that Sarawak has plenty of colourful flowers and yet along our main roads, we don’t see what we see in Saudi Arabia,” the premier said.
He said even Singapore is going into horticulture in a big way, adding he is amazed with the island republic producing many species of orchids.
“What I am saying here is that we must have a certain policy and brainstorm on what we are going to do with our flowers?” he asked.
He said Sarawak should produce more flowers, particularly orchids, which can bring returns to the state.
State Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister Datuk Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said horticulture, especially the rare plant industry in Sarawak, has significant potential not only for economic impact but also for tourism.
He said Borneo’s tropical rainforests are home to a diverse range of rare and endemic plant species, making it an attractive destination for botanical enthusiasts and nature lovers.
He added foreign visitors can learn about the region’s unique flora, take guided tours to see rare plant species in their natural habitats, and visit nurseries and gardens specialising in rare plants.
Karim said the cultivation and sale of the unique flora can also generate revenue and create new job opportunities in the region.
“However, it is essential to manage the industry sustainably to prevent over-exploitation of rare plant species and to ensure the preservation of the region’s unique biodiversity,” he said.