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Bintulu

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This article is about a town in Sarawak, Malaysia. For the administrative district, see Bintulu District. For the administrative division, see Bintulu Division.
Bintulu
Other transcription(s)
 • Chinese 民都鲁
The town of Bintulu
The town of Bintulu
Official seal of Bintulu
Bintulu Development Authority
Nickname(s): "Energy Town of Sarawak"[1]
Bintulu is located in East Malaysia
Bintulu
Bintulu
Location in Borneo
Bintulu is located in Malaysia
Bintulu
Bintulu
Location in Malaysia
Coordinates: 3°10′24″N 113°2′36″E / 3.17333°N 113.04333°E / 3.17333; 113.04333Coordinates: 3°10′24″N 113°2′36″E / 3.17333°N 113.04333°E / 3.17333; 113.04333
Country  Malaysia
State  Sarawak
Division Bintulu Division
District Bintulu District
Founded by James Brooke 1861–1867
Formation of Bintulu Development Authority (BDA) 8 July 1978
Government
 • Type Bintulu Development Authority
 • General Manager Rodziah Haji Morshidi[2]
Area
 • Local authority area (Bintulu Division)[3] 12,515 km2 (4,832 sq mi)
Elevation[4] 8 m (26 ft)
Lowest elevation 0 m (0 ft)
Population (2010)[6]
 • Bintulu town 114,058
 • Local authority area 212,994[5]
Time zone MST (UTC+8)
 • Summer (DST) Not observed (UTC+8)
Postal code 97xxx[7]
International dialling code prefix +6086 (landline only)[8]
Vehicle registration plate prefix QT (for all vehicles except taxis)
HQ (for taxis only) [9]
Website www.bda.gov.my

Bintulu /bnˈtl/ (Chinese: 民都鲁; pinyin: Mín dū lǔ) is a coastal town in the central region of Sarawak, Malaysia. It is located at 610 kilometres northeast of Kuching.[10] Bintulu is also located between Miri and Sibu which is 216 kilometres northeast of Sibu[11] and 200 km southwest of Miri.[12] The town of Bintulu has a population of 114,058 in 2010.[6] It is also the capital of Bintulu District of Bintulu Division, Sarawak, Malaysia.

Bintulu was founded by Rajah James Brooke when he built a fort in the town. The town was first visited by an Italian botanist in 1867. The construction of earliest airstrip in Bintulu began in 1934 but only completed in 1955 due to Japanese occupation. Bintulu remains as a fishing village until 1969 when oil and gas reserves were discovered offshore Bintulu. Since then, Bintulu becomes centre of energy intensive industries such as Malaysia LNG plant, Shell Middle Distillate Synthesis plant, and Bintulu combined cycle power plant. Over time, the town also expands its economy into oil palm and forest plantations, palm oil processing, wood-waste processing, and cement manufacturing. Bintulu port is the largest port in Sarawak. The town is also a gateway to Samalajau Industrial Park.

Among the tourist attractions in Bintulu are Similajau National Park, Tumbina park, Tanjung Batu beach, Jepak village, Kuan Yin Tong temple, Assyakirin mosque, Council Negri monument, Tamu Bintulu, and Pasar Utama markets. Borneo International Kite Festival is held annually in the town.

Etymology[edit]

There are several legends that are related to the name of Bintulu. During the Brooke era, the indigenous Iban people still practices headhunting to maintain their social statuses in the community. They thrown the heads into Kemena river, near the old Bintulu General Hospital. Therefore, heads have to be collected from the river. The practice of collecting heads was known as "Mentu Ulau" (picking heads)[13] in the local native language.[14] There is another story where the two Iban warriors named Bernik and Jelab built houses along the river. They and their followers frequently carried out head preservation (menyalai kepala) activities near a small river stream branching off from Sebezaw River because the river bank was flat and wide. Therefore, the small river stream was named "Mentu Ulau" river.[15] Outsiders who came to Bintulu subsequently pronounced the name as "Mentulau" and later the name was evolved into "Bentulu" and finally "Bintulu".[16] There is another legend where the Bintulu residents were described to have long heads. This is known as "Bat Ulau" in Melanau language which was subsequently adapted as "Bintulu".[14]

History[edit]

Brooke administration[edit]

Fort Keppel in 1868.

By 1861, Sultanate of Brunei ceded the Bintulu region (until Tanjung Kidurong) to James Brooke.[17][18] Bintulu was a small settlement at that time. A wooden fort named Fort Keppel was built in the village,[19] named after Sir Henry Keppel, who was a close friend for the Rajah James and Charles Brooke. Sir Henry Keppel was responsible for crushing Dayak piracy in Saribas between 1840 to 1850.[20] An Italian botanist named Odoardo Beccari visited Bintulu in 1867. On 4 August, he started his journey on a gunboat named "Heartsease" which was to send $6,000 to Brunei for concession being made to Rajah of Sarawak on the Mukah and Bintulu regions. He went to Labuan before coming back to Bintulu and dropped off at Kemena River on 13 August 1867. His observations of the village was recorded as follows:[21]

The fort of Bintulu which was built entirely of wood, was in somewhat ruinous condition. It stood nearly on the sea-shore, and just behind it, at a distance of few paces, the primeval forests commenced...Some chinamen had settled at the vicinity of the fort and had built a small bazaar; but the village is chiefly formed by the houses of the Melanau beyond the Chinese kampong (village). These Melanaus used to lived further up the river, but since the construction of the fort, and the installation of an officer of the Rajah near the mouth of the river, they came to settle near the sea - a thing they would never have dared to do in former days for fear of the attacks of the Lanun pirates and Dayak pirates.[21]

—Reported by Odoardo Beccari in 1904

The Melanau houses were built in rows on both sides of the Kemena river, mostly furnished by Nipah and Sago palms. Each house had its own shed projection into the entrance of the river which was used for the production of sago.[21][22] On 8 September 1867, Sarawak first General Council meeting (now Sarawak State Legislative Assembly) took place in a fishing village here. It was made up of 21 members elected from local community members (5 British officers and 16 local chiefs of Malay and Melanau races). The Council was formed by Raja Muda Charles Brooke under the orders from Rajah James Brooke. The Council is the oldest state legislative assembly in Malaysia.[1][23][24]

Japanese occupation[edit]

During World War II, the Brooke government under the leadership of Charles Vyner Brooke, constructed airstrips in Kuching, Oya, Mukah, Bintulu, and Miri. Airstrip construction in Bintulu was started in 1934 when C W Bailey, a Works and Building Inspector for the British Royal Air Force (RAF) began the construction of the airstrip. By 1938, all airstrips were completed except for Bintulu where construction was discontinued in October 1938 due to financial reasons.[25] In 1958, Bailey was killed in an air crash in Singapore. During the occupation, the Japanese made full use of the airport for military purposes. The British only started to reconstruct the airport after the war. A lot of unexploded bombs were found during the reconstruction.[26]

On 5 September 1942, there was an execution of 5 men at Padungan, Kuching (current location of Kuching South City Council) who were caught for stealing petrol. The execution was witnessed by the Japanese Field Marshal Prince Maida (前田利为),[27][28] who was also the cousin of Japanese emperor.[29] Prince Maida later boarded a plane to Labuan that day to officiate an airport that bear his name. However, he never arrived. One month later, the plane was found to have crashed off the coast of Tanjung Datu, Bintulu. The cause of the plane crash was not known. The Japanese later set up a wooden pole memorial made up of Belian wood in Bintulu. The wooden pole was later taken back to Japan by Prince Maida family.[26][30]

Chinese sawmill owners at Sibu and Bintulu were instructed by the Japanese to produce timber for repairs at oil fields and ship building. During the Japanese occupation, sawmills at Bintulu produced a total of 4,000 tons of sawn timber.[31]

Post-war period[edit]

Bintulu fishing village in 1950s.

In the 1950s, main economic activities in Bintulu was timber extraction industry, fishing, and Sago processing.[22] In the 1960s, Bintulu was still a small fishing village, consisting a population of 5,000. No roads were constructed in Bintulu at that time until the 1969 when the first untarred road was built to connect from Bintulu to Miri. The first buses that service the Miri to Bintulu route was owned by Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA). The MARA buses was an initiative by the Malaysian federal government to provide public transportation for the people. The Iban villagers would pay the bus driver with vegetables, chickens, bamboo shoots and other items because they had no money. Before 1960, Bintulu was connected to Kuching by sea through a ship named "M V Swee Joo". After 1960, "M V Chin Chin" was introduced to the route. It took around 36 to 48 hours to reach Bintulu from Kuching, depending on the sea condition. Due to lack of food supplies from Kuching, the villagers had to make do with the limited food, and several villagers had resorted to hunting in the jungles to increase the food supply.[26]

In 1960, there were only 3 primary schools in Bintulu. These schools only provided classes until Primary 3. There were no secondary schools. Villagers would have to pursue their secondary school studies at either Miri or Kuching by using small boats as there were no roads connecting Bintulu to either Miri or Kuching. After the formation of Malaysia, Bintulu had its first secondary school named Bintulu Government Secondary School in 1964.[26] In 1967, Bintulu celebrated first 100 years of Council Negri meeting (Sarawak State Legislative Assembly). A stone monument was built in front of a government rice storeroom[16] order to commemorate the event.[32] Bintulu was a sub-district of Miri Division in the 1970s.[26] The sub-district was upgraded into a district in 1987.[33]

Discovery of oil and gas reserves[edit]

Bintulu downtown in 2011.

Large reserves of natural gas was discovered offshore Bintulu in 1969. Following this, a feasibility study was done in 1975 in which Tanjung Kidurong was found to be a suitable site for deep-water port.[17] On 14 June 1978, Malaysia LNG Sdn Bhd (MLNG Satu) was established by Petronas, a Malaysian national oil and gas company for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) processing at Bintulu.[22] On 8 July 1978, Bintulu Development Authority (BDA) was established by the Sarawak state government for infrastructure development and to promote industrial investment in the area.[34] Over the next 10 years, a total of RM 10 billion was spent in Bintulu to upgrade its facilities and services.[22] On 15 August 1981, Bintulu Port Authority was established at Tanjung Kidurong and it started operation on 1 January 1983.[35]

Rural-urban migration is significant in Bintulu because of greater job availability here. Unable to find an affordable housing, these people have started several squatter areas[36] around Kidurong Industrial estate[37] and Sungai Sebatang.[38] Therefore, several low-cost housing projects initiated by BDA and Sarawak state government to relocate the squatters.[39][40]

Bintulu is currently a gateway to Samalajau Industrial Park.[41] The industrial park is located 62 km away from Bintulu, currently under the purview of Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE). It is a centre of heavy and energy intensive industries.[42] Among the companies that started their operations in the industrial park are Tokuyama Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Press Metal Bintulu Sdn Bhd, and OM Materials Sdn Bhd.[43]

Governance[edit]

BDA Head Office in the town of Bintulu.
Administrative districts of Bintulu Division.

Bintulu is represented by Bintulu parliamentary seat (P. 217) in Parliament of Malaysia. The town is also represented by 3 state assembly seats: Jepak, Kidurong, and Kemena in Sarawak State Legislative Assembly.[44]

Local authorities[edit]

The town of Bintulu is administered by Bintulu Development Authority (BDA) since 1978, located at Tanjung Kidurong.[45] The town is located within the boundary of Bintulu District which consists of 183,402 population[6] with a total area of 7220.40 km2.[46] Bintulu Division was formerly a Bintulu District under the jurisdiction of Miri Division. The former Bintulu District was upgraded to Bintulu Division on 1 January 1987. At the same time, Bintulu sub-district was upgraded to the present-day Bintulu District.[33] Both the Bintulu Resident and District Offices are located inside Wisma Residen, Pisang Keling Street, Bintulu.[47][48]

Geography[edit]

Bintulu is located near the mouth of Kemena River.[49] Bintulu area is mostly consisted of geological formation from Pleistocene period in the coastal area which contains silt, clay, and gravel. Geological formation from Oligocene period is found in the inland area which contains limestone, slitstone, and sandstone. The soil is generally soft.[50]

Climate[edit]

There are two monsoon seasons in the area: Northeast moonsoon (November to March) and Southwest moonsoon (May to September). The calm period between these two moonsoons is known as transitional period. In the coastal region, maximum rainfall will occur in the month of January while minimal rainfall will occur from the month of June to August. Rainfall is more evenly distributed in the inland areas. The annual rainfall of Bintulu region is about 3,750 mm annually. The mean daily hours of sunshine at Bintulu is about 5.0 to 5.5 hours. Bintulu receives on average 14 to 15 mJ/m2 of radiation throughout the year. Bintulu relative humidity is generally 85%.[50]

Climate data for Bintulu (1961-1990)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 29.5
(85.1)
29.8
(85.6)
30.4
(86.7)
31.2
(88.2)
31.6
(88.9)
31.7
(89.1)
31.4
(88.5)
31.4
(88.5)
31.0
(87.8)
30.9
(87.6)
30.6
(87.1)
30.2
(86.4)
30.8
(87.4)
Daily mean °C (°F) 25.9
(78.6)
26.1
(79)
26.6
(79.9)
27.0
(80.6)
27.2
(81)
27.1
(80.8)
26.7
(80.1)
26.8
(80.2)
26.6
(79.9)
26.6
(79.9)
26.3
(79.3)
26.2
(79.2)
26.6
(79.9)
Average low °C (°F) 23.1
(73.6)
23.3
(73.9)
23.5
(74.3)
23.7
(74.7)
23.8
(74.8)
23.5
(74.3)
23.2
(73.8)
23.3
(73.9)
23.3
(73.9)
23.4
(74.1)
23.2
(73.8)
23.2
(73.8)
23.4
(74.1)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 445.8
(17.551)
237.9
(9.366)
268.7
(10.579)
244.8
(9.638)
242.4
(9.543)
256.4
(10.094)
254.3
(10.012)
290.3
(11.429)
295.7
(11.642)
335.5
(13.209)
427.0
(16.811)
450.6
(17.74)
3,749.4
(147.614)
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 19 14 15 15 13 12 14 15 16 18 20 21 192
Mean monthly sunshine hours 142.1 151.0 178.1 192.9 204.3 201.3 203.5 186.7 171.2 171.2 164.8 163.6 2,130.7
Source: NOAA (sun, 1961–1990)[51]

Demographics[edit]

An Iban longhouse near Setiam, Kuala Tatau-Bintulu road

The growth of Bintulu population is shown below:

Year 1960 1970 1980 1991 2000 2010
Total
population
5,000[26] 4,663[52] 42,812[52] 51,862[52] 102,671[52] 114,058[6]

Ethnicity[edit]

According to 2010 Malaysian census, the town population is 114,058. Indigenous people accounted for the largest proportion of the town population (61.2%, 69,782), followed by Chinese (25.0%, 28,512), Non-Malaysians (13.1%, 14,939), and Indians (0.28%, 319). Among the indigenous groups, there are Iban (32,992), Malay (14,945), Melanau (14,179), Bidayuh (1,598), and other indigenous tribes (6,068).[6] According to government sources, there are 229 Iban longhouses in Bintulu District. The Ibans moved into Kemena and Tatau basins in mid-19th and early 20th century with the permission of Brooke government. Other indigenous tribes that form the minority are Kayan, Kenyah, and Punan. The Chinese in Bintulu mainly composed of dialect groups such as Hakka, Fuzhou, and Teochews. The Chinese has been living in the town of Tatau since the Bruneian Empire era. Later Fuzhou Chinese from Sibu moved in, dominating the timber and plantation businesses in Bintulu.[53] There is also a large number of foreigners working here. Most of them come from Britain, Australia, Netherlands, Germany, South Africa, New Zealand, Japan, China, United States, and Indonesia.[54]

Languages[edit]

While Malay language is the official language of Sarawak, English language is widely spoken here. Local ethnic languages and Chinese dialects are spoken by respective ethnic groups. Mandarin is also spoken by ethnic Chinese in Bintulu.[54] Bintulu language is spoken by communities living along the Kemena river,[55] totalling 4,200 native speakers. These speakers are now recognised as part of "Melanau" ethnic group, where their main language is Malay. Bintulu language is now classified as one of the endangered languages in Sarawak because of isolated usage of such language in a small community.[56][57]

Religion[edit]

Majority of the Bintulu population are Christians, followed by Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism.[54] Among the notable places of worships in Bintulu are: Bintulu Mosque (Masjid Assyakirin),[58] Masjid Jepak, Tua Pek Kong Temple,[59] Eng Kwang Methodist Church,[60] and St Thomas church.[61] Respective religious groups are free to hold processions in the town.[62][63]

Economy[edit]

The Bintulu LNG port.

There are 5 industrial estates in Bintulu. They are: Kemena Industrial Estate (for wood-based industries), Jepak Industries Estate (wood-based industries), Kidurong Industrial Area (for medium and light industries), Kidurong Light Industrial Estate (medium and light industries), and Bintulu Light Industrial Estate (light industry).[64][65]

Oil and gas[edit]

Malaysia LNG is a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) manufacturing complex located in Bintulu which currently contains 8 LNG trains with the 9th one currently under construction. It is built by Malaysian national oil and gas company, Petronas.[66] The manufacturing complex has a production capacity of 25.7 million tonnes per annum. Petronas is also planning to open Floating LNG (FLNG) offshore Bintulu, which is used specifically to harvest natural gas from small and isolated gas fields. Transportation of natural gas from neighouring state of Kimanis, Sabah to LNG complex at Bintulu for processing is facilitated by 512 km "Sabah Sarawak Gas Pipeline".[67] Currently, 45% of Malaysian natural gas is found at Central Luconia offshore Bintulu. The largest importers of Malaysia LNG productions are Japan (62%), Korea (17%), Taiwan (12%), and China (9%).[68]

Sarawak Shell Bintulu Plant (SSBP), formerly known as Bintulu Crude Oil Terminal (BCOT), was established in 1979. It consists of 3 crude oil storage tanks, each with a capacity of 410,000 barrels. It consists of 3 major areas of operations: Crude Oil Operations, Condensate Stabilisation, and Gas Sales Facilities.[69] Royal Dutch Shell started to establish the world's first Shell Middle Distillate Synthesis plant (Shell MDS) in 1993. It is also known as Bintulu Gas-To-Liquid plant (Bintulu GTL).[68] The plant has a production capacity of 14,770 barrels per day with total investment of over US$1 billion as of the year 2010. The plant staff contains 380 people where 93% are Malaysians with 80% of the staff coming from Sarawak.[70]

Wood-based industries and plantations[edit]

Since the opening up of Bintulu-Miri road in the 1970s, large-scale plantations of oil palm and cocoa has been developed in rural areas of Bintulu Division. Currently, there are 57,740 hectares (577.4 km2) of oil palm, 2,000 hectares(200 km2) of Rattan , and 815 hectares (8.15 km3) of pepper plantations.[69]

The first Bintulu palm oil refinery was established in June 1991 which is Bintulu Edible Oil Sdn Bhd.[69] Bintulu currently has 4 palm oil refineries: Bintulu Edible Oils Sdn Bhd (operated under PGEO Group, a subsidiary of Wilmar International),[71] Sime Darby Austral Edible Oil Sdn Bhd, Kirana Palm Oil Refinery Sdn Bhd, and Sarawak Oil Palm Bhd.[72] However, in 2015, Wilmar no longer buys raw palm oil produced from cleared forests and peat swamps in Sarawak due to environmental concerns.[73]

The Bintulu Division has been designated a Planted Forests Zone (PFZ) by Sarawak state government since 1998. As of 30 June 2011, a total of 124,618 hectares (1246.18 km2 of the area has been planted with Acacia trees.[74] Other trees that are planned to be planted are Kelampayan, engkabang, Durian, Batai, Eucalyptus, and rubber trees.[75] Sarawak Planted Fores Sdn Bhd,[76] a company wholly owned by the Sarawak state government has been granted license to replant forests for 60 years. However, the company has been suffering financial losses from 2009 to 2011.[77]

There are 3 major mills in Bintulu that process wood-waste products. Two mills are Medium-density fibreboard (MDF) plants and one is charcoal briquette plant, with a total installed capacity of 246,000 m3 per year. MDF plants utilise wood waste purchased from sawmills and plywood mills located in Bintulu area and occasionally from Tanjung Manis timber processing zone located at the mouth of Rajang River. Synthetic resins which is required to hold wood dust together, constituted 20% of the total production cost of the wood panel products.[78] MDF plants in Bintulu are operated by Daiken Sarawak Sdn Bhd which was founded on 15 February 1994.[69][79] Meanwhile, the briquette plant is operated by Cipta Briquette Sdn Bhd.[78] Glue/adhesive factory in Bintulu is owned by Bintulu Adhesive & Chemicals Sdn Bhd, built at a cost of RM 17 million. It produces urea formaldehyde resin, phenol formaldehyde resin for plywood and chipboard manufacturing at Kemena Industrial Estate. Urea precondensate is also produced to supply ASEAN Bintulu Fertiliser (ABF) plant.[69]

Others[edit]

Menara Kidurong is the headquarter of Bintulu Port Authority (BPA).
Rubber tyred gantry crane (RTG) at Bintulu International Container Terminal (BICT).

Bintulu Port Authority was established in 1981. It started port operation in 1983 at Tanjung Kidurong. Following a privatisation exercise, Bintulu Port Sdn Bhd (BPSB) was founded on 23 December 1992 and commenced operation on 1 January 1993. BPA is currently responsible for regulatory exercises and security of the port. Meanwhile, BPSB is responsible for cargo handling at Bintulu International Container Terminal (BICT).[80][81] The port also provides Vessel traffic service to shipping vessels.[69] The annual total cargo throughput is 45.4 million tonnes, consisting of 58% LNG and 42% non-LNG products.[82] As of 31 December 2014, it generated a total revenue of RM 552.3 million in one year.[83] Bintulu Port is the largest port in Sarawak.[84]

ASEAN Bintulu Fertiliser plant is the anhydrous ammonia and granular plant operated by Asean Bintulu Fertiliser Sdn Bhd (ABF), partly owned by Petronas.[85] The company was formed on 6 December 1980 and the plant was built at a cost of RM 700 million. The plant started operation on 1 October 1985, one of the largest granular urea plant in Asia. It is a joint venture by five ASEAN countries: Malaysia (63.5% shares), Thailand (13%), Indonesia (13%), Philippines (9.5%), and Singapore (1%).[69]

Cahya Mata Sarawak Berhad (CMSB), one of the largest publicly listed company in Sarawak, set up a cement plant in Bintulu at Kidurong Industrial Estate. It was built at a cost of RM 137 million. This plant is manned by 40 people. It produces Ordinary Portland cement and Portland Blast Furnace Cement. It currently has a combined production capacity of 2.75 million MT (Million Tonnes).[69][86]

Bintulu combined cycle power plant was started in early 2010 with a capacity of 317 Megawatt. The power plant is registered under United Nations Clean Development Management (CDM) scheme on 18 September 2010. The plant is built to ensure efficient use of energy and to reduce green house gas emissions. It is the first CDM power plant in Malaysia, currently operated by Sarawak Power Generation Sdn Bhd (SPG), a wholly owned subsidiary of Sarawak Energy.[87][88]

Transportation[edit]

Land[edit]

All the roads in Bintulu are maintained by Bintulu Development Authority (BDA). Bintulu is connected to Miri and Sibu through Pan Borneo Highway.[89][90] Bintulu is also connected to Mukah[91] and Samalaju Industrial Park.[92] Kemena bridge is the bridge that crosses the Kemena River. It is the second bridge in Malaysia which was built using Incremental Launch Method.[93] There is one road in Bintulu which is called Keppel Road. It is named after a friend of James Brooke, Sir Henry Keppel.[94]

Public transportation[edit]

Bintulu has a long-distance bus station, located at Medan Jaya, 5 km northeast to the town centre. Among the areas served by the bus station are: Miri, Sibu, Kuching, Mukah, Sarikei, Oya, Dalat, Balingian, and Pontianak, Indonesia.[95][96] Bus companies serves the bus station are: Syarikat Baram Sdn. Bhd, MTC, Biaramas, and Suria buses.[97] There are also buses which serves the town area.[98] Taxi services are also provided in the town of Bintulu.[99]

Air[edit]

The old Bintulu airport was built in 1955 in the town centre.[100] The airport once held the Guinness World Records of nearest airport to town. On 19 December 2002, the airport was replaced by a new airport which is located 23 km away from the town centre.[52] The airport has a runway measuring 2,745 m,[101][102] capable of handling planes as large as Airbus A330.[103] The airport currently serves three major airlines: Malaysia Airlines (MAS), Air Asia, and MASwings,[101] connecting to domestic destinations such as: Sibu, Miri, Kuching, Kuala Lumpur, and Kota Kinabalu.[104]

Water[edit]

There is a wharf terminal at Bintulu which serves the rural areas of Bintulu Division. Among the destinations that can be reached by express boats from Bintulu are: Sebauh, Pandan, Labang, Tubau, and Binyo.[95][105]

Other utilities[edit]

Courts of law and legal enforcement[edit]

The current court complex is located at Pisang Emas road.[106] It comprised of High Court, Sessions Court, and the Magistrate Court.[107] Bintulu also has Syariah Subordinate Court which is located at Tanjung Kidurong with area of jurisdiction covering Bintulu and Tatau districts.[108] Bintulu central police station is located at Tun Hussein Onn road, while other police stations are located at Tanjung Kidurong, Tubau, and Sebauh.[109] There is also a central prison in Bintulu[110] which also doubles as a correctional centre.[111]

Healthcare[edit]

Bintulu hospital started operation since 1968. It is located at Nyabau road, 12 km away from town centre. The hospital was renovated on 21 May 2000, now equipped with 200 beds.[112] As of 2011, the hospital provided speciality services in 7 medical disciplines.[113] Bintulu also has one polyclinic which is Polyclinic Bintulu.[114] There are two private hospitals in Bintulu: Columbia Asia Hospital[115] and Bintulu Medical Centre.[116]

Education[edit]

The UPM Bintulu Sarawak Campus main Library
SMK Kidurong, Bintulu.

There are about 50 primary and 8 secondary schools in Bintulu.[117] All the schools under the National Education System are managed by Bintulu District Education Office.[118] The oldest primary schools in Miri are St Anthony’s Primary School (Roman Catholic Mission School), Chung Hua Primary School and the Orang Kaya Mohammad Primary School which were established in early 1960s. Bintulu Government Secondary School was built in 1964.[26] It is now known as SMK Bintulu, the oldest secondary school in the town.[117] Bintulu also has one Chinese independent school which is Kai Dee Middle School (开智中学).[119] Shell oil company established Kidurong International school in 1982 to cater the primary education needs of Shell employees' children. The school provides English National Curriculum (ENC) for literacy and numeracy and International Primary Curriculum (IPC) for other subjects.[120]

UPM Bintulu Sarawak Campus was started as National Resource Training Centre, Kuching in 1974. It is the oldest campus in Sarawak. The campus was relocated to Bintulu in 1987 as branch campus of Universiti Pertanian Malaysia (UPM). The campus was closed down in 1992 before reopened again in 2001 as Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM). During this period of closure, the campus was used as Maktab Perguruan Sains Bintulu (Bintulu Science Teachers' Training College) from 1994[121] to July 1999. After that, The Teachers' Training College was moved to Kota Samarahan as Institut Pendidikan Guru Kampus Tun Abdul Razak (Tun Abdul Razak Teachers’ Training Institute Campus).[122] The campus is currently located 13 km away from town centre, occupying 715 hectares, which can accommodate up to 2,200 students. This branch campus currently has only one faculty which is Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences, consisting of five academic departments.[123] In 2015, UPM is ranked at 41st spot on UI-Greenmetric World University rankings.[124] SEDAMAI college was established in November 1999. It offers courses in business, information technology, language, and engineering courses.[125]

There is also a technical school located 15 km away from the town, near to Tanjung Kidurong, occupying 20 hectares of land. The school was built in 1982 with a maximum capacity of 900 students. Among the courses offered are: automotive, mechanical and civil engineering, commerce, and fashion.[117] Gulf Golden International Flying Academy (GGIFA) was the first and the only flying academy in Sarawak.[126] It was closed in 2012 due to financial difficulties.[127]

Libraries[edit]

The first public library in Bintulu was built in 1971 by Bintulu District Council (BDC). In 1988, the library was demolished to make way for car parks.[128] Books from the library were moved into the former BDC building. On 29 May 2000, Bintulu Development Authority (BDA) public library was built near Bintulu Civic Centre which is 2 km away from the town.[129] The public library has 3 branch libraries at Kidurong, Tatau, and Sebauh.[130]

Culture and leisure[edit]

Attractions and recreational spots[edit]

Cultural[edit]

Kampung Jepak (Jepak village) is a Melanau fishing village in Bintulu near Kemena river. Among the daily activities in this village are:Sago processing, fishing drying, Belacan manufacturing, Cencaluk (salted shrimps), and manufacturing of Terendak (Melanau headgear), and Tutop (food cover).[23][131] Kuan Yin Tong temple is located at KM2 Jalan Sultan Iskandar. It has a unique structural design with rock garden courtyard, man-made waterfall, and dragon fencing. Assyakirin mosque meaning "Gratefulness to God" has a man-made waterfall, fountain, and also a unique landscape planted with flowers.[23] Borneo International Kite Festival has been held yearly since 2005 at old Bintulu airport runway.[132] It is usually held for four to five days in September.[133]

Historical[edit]

In 1987, a clock tower and a fountain was erected at the site of first Sarawak Council Negri meeting (now Sarawak State Legislative Assembly) at Council Negri Monument. A centenary stone which was erected back in 1967 to commemorate the event is kept under the clock tower.[23] The Bintulu Tua Pek Kong temple (near Tamu Bintulu) is believed to have been built in the 1890s to purge the town from evil spirits. The temple has survived World War II, and was rebuilt after the discovery of oil and gas offshore Bintulu.[59]

Leisure and conservation areas[edit]

Taman Tumbina (Tumbina Park), Bintulu.

Similajau National Park is located 30 km northeast of the town. The park was gazetted in 1976, covering an area of 8,996 hectares (89.96 km2) with sandy beaches, rocky headlands, jungle streams, and forests.[134] Other national parks that can be accessed along Miri-Bintulu road are: Lambir Hills National Park[135] and Niah National Park.[136][137]

Tanjung Batu beach (Temasya beach)[138] is located 3 km from the town centre. Meanwhile, Taman Tumbina (Tumbina Park) is located 4 km from the town centre. The park has a hornbill aviary, a butterfly garden, and other animals such as tigers, crocodiles, and pythons.[23][139]

Other attractions[edit]

Kidurong tower is an observation tower located at Tanjung Kidurong. It offers a view of Bintulu oil and gas facilities shortly after night fall.[139][140] Bintulu Promenade is a 3 km walkway along the Bintulu coastline with Kemena river mouth as its focal point. It has 3 observatory points offering views during sunsets.[139][141] There is also an 18 hole golf course at Bintulu.[23][139]

Shopping[edit]

Tamu Bintulu.
ParkCity Mall, Bintulu.

There are several shopping malls in Bintulu: Parkcity Mall, City Point, Ngiu Kee Departmental Stores, Farley shopping complex, Sing Kwong Supermarkets, and MDS-Mart.[142] Time Square Mall is currently under development in Bintulu.[143]

Tamu Bintulu and Pasar Utama are the two main markets in the town.[144] Both places have a unique cone shaped roof that symbolises the traditional Melanau headgear named Terendak. Tamu Bintulu offers items ranged from jungle produce to native home-made specialties such as Belacan.[139] Meanwhile, Pasar Utama houses both wet market and fish market under one roof, providing fresh vegetables, fruits, fish, and other dairy products. The first floor of Pasar Utama offers a variety of hawker food such as Laksa, Kolok Mee, Jawa Mee, pulut panggang,[145] Ais Batu Campur, Cendol, and teh tarik. Bintulu night market is located at Kampung Dagang road. There are over 150 stalls selling a variety of items such as garments, electric goods, vegetables, fruits, food amd drinks.[23]

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