Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sarawak Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud (second from left) with his wife Toh Puan Ragad Kurdi (right) and Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Abdul Rahman Zohari Abang Openg at the opening of the Darul Hana Bridge in Sarawak recently. PIC BY NADIM BOKHARI

KUCHING: The state capital declared as country’s first “City of Unity” has a new landmark in the form of a bridge over Sungai Sarawak.

Named as “Darul Hana Bridge” linking Pangkalan Batu and Pangkalan Sapi, the new landmark is the brainchild of Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sarawak Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud.

During the official opening ceremony of the RM35 million bridge recently, he shared the reason for him to push for the construction of the bridge.

“In my younger days, I used to cross the river using the ‘penambang’ boat. I realised then Sungai Sarawak looked different and beautiful when the boat reaches the middle of the river,” said the Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sarawak in his speech at the ceremony.

The structure of the 335m-long S-shaped bridge also contains elements of the Bidayuh community’s bamboo bridges with a futuristic design, supported by steel cables linked to two juxtaposed hornbill-topped towers.

Taib explained that the meaning of the bridge was “Home to Peace and Tranquility”.

“In the historical perspective, when Sarawak was ruled by Sultan Tengah, he had named the state ‘Sarawak Darul Hana’.

“Literally, the words ‘Darul Hana’ reflect what Sarawak is all about,” he said.

Taib recorded his appreciation to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Abdul Rahman Zohari Abang Openg and the state government for turning his vision into reality.

“It was very difficult to develop this bridge those days. The chief minister and members in the state cabinet shared the same vision and now the bridge is here,” he said.

Earlier in his speech, the chief minister said the bridge would become an integral part of the Heritage Trail, allowing access to Kuching’s historical sites.

“Tourists can travel on foot from Kuching to the Old State Legislative Assembly building passing through Botanic Gardens and Orchid Garden to the iconic Fort Margherita and the present State Legislative Assembly Complex,” he said.

At a separate event, Works Minister and Petra Jaya MP, Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof, said as a Sarawakian, he was proud of the new icon for the state capital.

Not only the bridge is set to become a new attraction, the landmark will also remind Sarawakians of the history of the state.

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