BY JACK WONG
TRAVELLING to the heartland of the Melanaus in central Sarawak has been made easier as the airport at Mukah has been upgraded to serve Fokker aircraft.
Under a RM9.5mil upgrading project, the runway was extended to 1,500m from 1,100m. Previously, the airport could only accommodate the 19-seater Twin Otter and Donnier aircraft.
Before the upgrading, visitors from Kuching had to fly to Sibu and take a bus to Mukah.
The airport makes it easier for businessmen to travel to the Tanjung Manis integrated timber-processing zone, which was previously accessible only by boat from Sibu or Sarikei.
While launching the upgraded airport recently, Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said it would make fast-growing Mukah more accessible to investors, businessmen and tourists.
He said it would help spur economic, tourism and social development in Mukah Division.
“Mukah has undergone great changes in agriculture with the opening of sago and oil palm plantations and padi estates,” added Taib.
He said that more people would now be able to attend the annual Melanau festival, Pesta Kaul, which is a major tourist attraction.
Tourism Minister Datuk Leo Michael Toyad, who hails from Mukah, said the extended Mukah Airport would boost tourism.
Later, Taib toured the new RM48mil Batang Mukah steel arch bridge, a unique landmark in Mukah.
The bridge, which was completed last month, was designed and built by Sarawakians.
Courtesy of The Star