JB's 100-year-old Kampung Senibong gets a 21st century upgrade

Chuah Bee Kim

JOHOR BARU: The century-old Kampung Senibong here, which has built a reputation as a seafood haven among locals and tourists, will be getting a new lease on life.

With rapid development closing in on the traditional Malay village, located just a stone’s-throw away from the city’s downtown area, many were concerned that the settlement’s days were numbered.

Mindful of its historic significance and popularity with tourists, the Johor government has decided to relocate the village to a new site named ‘Taman Senibong’, where the unique identity and charm of its original iteration will be retained.

Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said property developer Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd (IWH) will be building double-storey terrace houses and flats comprising 210 units for the residents.

"About 100 villagers from Kampung Senibong will be entitled to buy the double-storey terrace units, valued at RM300,000, at a special price of only RM25,000.

"And we know that the second generation will also want to live near their parents, so we have built flats for them. However, we have yet to decide on the price of the flat units.

“The development will also have commercial lots so that existing seafood restaurant operators can continue their businesses," Khaled said.

The first phase of Taman Senibong’s development will run from Oct this year to the end of next year; while the second phase, which will start after the completion of the first phase, is expected to be completed by 2019.

He added that the commercial lots will be managed by the Koperasi Warisan Kampung Senibong Johor Baru Berhad, which is declaring a 20 per cent dividend for its members.

Residents of Kampung Bakar Batu, another traditional Malay village, will also be relocated there.

The Menteri Besar was speaking after launching the Annual General Meeting (AGM) for the Koperasi Warisan Kampung Senibong Johor Baru Berhad 2017 here, yesterday.

On a separate matter, Khaled said that building affordable homes for Bumiputeras using funds from the conversion of Bumiputera lots to Bumiputera-released units, is one of the strategies being used by the Johor state government to help the group become homeowners.

The state currently faces the problem of having 88,000 unsold properties reserved as Bumiputera lots.

Khaled said the unsold lots range from bungalows and shophouses, to factories and serviced apartments.

"For every 10 units of high-end properties, the developer has to allocate four per cent for Bumiputeras," he said, adding that after a certain time frame, the developers can apply for the lots to be released.