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Wednesday, 11 January 2017

(The Star) A big day for Bagan Datuk

In the  past, Bagan Datuk used to be a secluded town that revolved around coconut plantations and other agricultural activities.
Bus driver G. Chandran, 57, who has lived in the area for more than 50 years, said the town was so secluded that there wasn’t much development in it.
“Let me be honest with you, whenever people come here, they always ask, ‘What place is this?’ As a resident here, I told them we’re famous for agriculture and fishing.
“The fish here is cheap and affordable. Not many people know this, but from now on they will know. In a way, I’m glad that Bagan Datuk has been declared a district,” he said to MetroPerak on the sidelines of the incorporation of the district on Monday.
Bagan Datoh was gazetted as the 12th district of Perak on June 15, last year.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, during the Aidilfitri Malaysia Open House in Hutan Melintang in July, announced that Bagan Datoh had been upgraded to a district in an agreement between the Perak and Federal governments.
On Monday, Sultan Nazrin Shah officially declared Bagan Datuk as the state’s newest district.
Sultan Nazrin accompanied by Ahmad Zahid, shaking hands with Bagan Datuk residents upon his arrival for the proclaimation ceremony of Bagan Datuk as the 12th district in Perak. – SAIFUL BAHRI/The Star
Sultan Nazrin accompanied by Ahmad Zahid, shaking hands with Bagan Datuk residents upon his arrival for the proclaimation ceremony of Bagan Datuk as the 12th district in Perak. – SAIFUL BAHRI/The Star
The sultan, accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir, made the declaration before a huge crowd at a special ceremony at SM Sains Bagan Datoh.
Encompassing 95,000ha, the new district, which is 150km from Ipoh, will have four state constituencies under it: Rungkup, Hutan Melintang, Kampung Gajah, and Changkat Jong.
Chandran, who hails from Rungkup, said it’s a sign that Bagan Datuk is heading in the right direction and thanked the deputy prime minister, who is also the MP for Bagan Datuk, for being the driving force behind the move.
“I was told that government agencies will set up offices here and there will also be an administrative office. This will make life easier for the people here. To be honest, driving to Teluk Intan to settle our errands can be troublesome. It’s good to see that things are changing here,” Chandran said
The people of Bagan Datuk turned up by the thousands to watch Sultan Nazrin proclaim BAgan Datuk the 12the district in Perak.
The people of Bagan Datuk turned up by the thousands to watch Sultan Nazrin proclaim BAgan Datuk the 12the district in Perak.
His friend, fisherman J. Dass, 43, who lives in Hutan Melintang, said his friends from other areas used to tease him about living in a secluded place but now he has the last laugh.
“There are lots of plans and I hope they materialises. So many projects, so much funding – it’s only good for the town.
“The deputy PM has been MP here for a while but now he is beginning to use his stature to bring development to this part of Perak.
“There is potential in this town and you will see it in the next 10 years,” Dass said.
Zambry said the declaration of the district is not just a festival or celebration but also the outcome of systematic planning that was brought to fruition by the state administration.
“This is to ensure that the state government is able to provide the best benefits for the people here. Bagan Datuk used to fall under the administration of Hilir Perak District, which is in Teluk Intan and it can affect planning, execution and matters involving the people here.
New developments near the coast of Bagan Datuk are already starting to take shape.
New developments near the coast of Bagan Datuk are already starting to take shape.
“Hilir Perak included three parliamentary constituencies – Pasir Salak, Teluk Intan and Bagan Datuk. When it came to development, it was a challenge.
“With the formation of this district, I hope it will make things easier for the state government and the people here,” he said in his speech.
Zambry also announced that there projects already being planned for the district. Among the projects that are set to put Bagan Datuk on the map is a state industrial park on 1,375ha of land, projected to attract investments of between RM44bil and RM53bil over the next 10 to 15 years. The project is also expected to create more than 20,000 jobs.
Other projects in the pipeline are a new district administration building, a polytechnic, housing projects, a new police district headquarters and the Bagan Datuk-Kampung Sejagop bridge.
Zambry added that the declaration of Bagan Datuk as a district was a success for the state administration.
“The new district will improve development and planning for the people here,” he said.
Zambry also said, with Ahmad Zahid as deputy prime minister, execution would be easier.
Ahmad Zahid echoed the sentiments of his constituents by saying the area used to receive little attention from the previous district administration.
“We would like to thank Sultan Nazrin for declaring Bagan Datuk a district. We, the people of Bagan Datuk have been craving development and this is now possible. I would also like to thank Datuk Zambry for being committed towards making this area a district,” the deputy prime minister said in his speech.
A file image Bagan Datuk District Officer Datuk Hamzah Hussin (left) inspecting progress along the Bagan Datoh Waterfront project, last year. – BERNAMA
A file image Bagan Datuk District Officer Datuk Hamzah Hussin (left) inspecting progress along the Bagan Datoh Waterfront project, last year. – BERNAMA
He said, even though development had yet to fully manifest itself in the new district, the people of Perak could visit attractions in the district like Pulau Sembilan.
Having confirmed that the island is part of Tourism Perak 2017 campaign, Ahmad Zahid said the island is one of just seven islands in the world to have bioluminescent plankton.
“In Malaysia, only Bagan Datuk and one location Sabah has this. Based on what we have seen so far, every month, there are about 3,500 tourist visiting the island.
“The sultan has decreed we should not do any physical development in the island and the mentri besar and I have agreed with this and have pledged not to do anything that will harm the environment of the island.
“There are three travel companies there and we shall maintain that. You can also trek and participate in island-hopping trips in the area,” Ahmad Zahid said.
Bagan Datuk will be the most watched district in the state and according to Mohd Zahrul Ashaari, 55, what used to be a quiet backwater, will be the envy of many towns in the state.
“It’s interesting to see the plans here. As a Bagan Datuk resident, we’ve been craving this. I know of many youngsters who have left the town for greener pastures, but now looking at the plans, I think people will want to come back here.
“The industrial park, institutes and schools here will surely pull in youngtsers from various villages and towns to come here and better themselves.

“The future looks bright for Bagan Datuk,” said the lorry driver.