Tanjung Manis Timber Industry Phase 1- 1990
The government wanted to develop 2000 hectares of land for the Tanjung Manis timber industry over 4 phases with the Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC). The first stage was to develop 200 hectares of land from 1990-1995. Imagine clearing uncharted territory of swampy Nipah palms. Bring on the bulldozers.
Tanjung Manis 2006 - Evergreen Timber Processing Plant's jetty
By now, Tanjung Manis has gone beyond timber processing into other light industries (eg: crude palm oil refinery and deep sea fisheries) in numerous factories in its industrial zone (the van shuttle to Belawai passes through it). Malaysia will not renew deepsea fishing licence for foreigners in 2007 to make sure that the local fishermen use the RM$400M Integrated Deepsea Fishing Port in Tanjung Manis (the only one in Malaysia) which will complete in Dec 2006.
Tanjung Manis 2006 - Logs parked along Rejang River
In th 1990's, there was hope by Sarikei deninzens that Tanjung Manis would bring the needed boost to the local economy as Sarikei was the closest town of significant size. Initially, Sarawak's 6th Division of Sarikei had an area of 6,969 square km that were made up of the districts of Sarikei, Meradong, Julau, Matu and Daro. Matu and Daro came under the new Mukah Division from 1st March 2002. So we "lost" Tanjung Manis.
There was kopitiam (coffeeshop) talk of plans to build a road from Sarikei to Tanjung Manis but that didn't happen. Then Sibu announced the Sibu-Tanjung Manis Highway and 7 bridges project -- the biggest single development project in the state under the 9th Malaysia Plan. It is estimated to cost the federal government RM$435M and to be completed by Sept 2009. One of the bridges, the 1,240m Batang Lebaan Bridge crossing Lebaan River, would be the longest in Sarawak when completed. Sarikei needs to build a link to this highway to tap the spillover business. Will Sarikei miss out of the golden goose? Touch wood.