World's best consultants hired for Tanjung Aru project
Published on: Saturday, April 08, 2017
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Kota Kinabalu: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman (pic) is confident that the Tanjung Aru Eco Development (TAED) will benefit the State economically, socially and environmentally, when completed.During his inaugural KK Rotary Club lecture entitled "My Vision for Sabah" recently, he said the TAED is incomparable in terms of development.

"TAED is a 348-hectare integrated beach front development located in Tanjung Aru.

"To create a sustainable development like no other in the region, it needs to be, not only economically viable but also socially and environmentally acceptable," he said.

"I engaged the best consultants in the world so that TAED will set a high benchmark for all future such developments in Malaysia and the region," he said to applause from the 400-strong audience at Shangrila Tg Aru Resort.

By specifically developing TAED with low-impact residential, hotel and commercial properties, Musa said the State Government will not only be able to raise the necessary funds for construction, but also to finance the maintenance of all public areas within the development, including the new beach and park.

"There is no other development comparable to TAED.

"The project is envisioned to be well-positioned to benefit the economy, community and environment."

In terms of land reclamation along the Kota Kinabalu seafront, Musa recognised that the issue has been a source of aggravation to many, especially those in conservation.

"To the dismay of many, previous administrations granted approvals for reclamation for the purpose of commercial development from Likas Bay all the way to Tanjung Aru.

"How much more can the city take?

"Where do we stop? Should the city be reclaimed past Gaya Island?

"I made a bold decision and froze all KK seafront land applications and even went to court to wrestle back those approved," he said.

Musa said he took the initiative a step further when in 2015, the Legislative State Assembly successfully passed a landmark bill to ban land reclamation beyond the designated boundary as means of protecting coastal lands along the Kota Kinabalu City Front.

Musa said Sabah's economic plans under the Halatuju are also moving well on track and have produced benefits for the State and the people.

He said the decision of the State Government to stop relying solely on timber for the State's economic growth but explore other alternatives to fuel the economy, was spot on.

"I'm happy to report that programmes under these plans are all moving on track, benefitting Sabah and the people."

He shared that since becoming Chief Minister and introducing the Halatuju, the State Government realised it had to look at the State's many other strengths that could be exploited to generate revenue which could even be more than what the timber industry had been offering.

One of these was tourism since Sabah is blessed with natural wonders and a rich cultural heritage.

"Today, tourism is generating economic spin-offs, creating jobs and businesses throughout the State.

Sabah recorded its best year ever in 2016 with 3.43 million tourist arrivals with an estimated RM7.25 billion in tourism receipts," he noted.

In line with that, he said Kota Kinabalu International Airport has now become the busiest airport in Malaysia after KLIA with over 400 domestic flights per week and 171 international flights.

In addition, there are 79 scheduled flights between KK and cities in China alone every week.

The huge number of arrivals have profited hotels in KK which register the highest average occupancy nationwide all year round.

He also proudly noted that the spin-offs in the highly profitable tourism industry have benefited even the local multi-cultural and multi-ethnic communities, including craft makers.

Musa reiterated that agriculture has been identified as an economic catalyst because the State is blessed with vast tracks of fertile land and suitable climate.

"I envisioned that much could be harnessed through agricultural, livestock and aquaculture activities," he said, adding that the vision had led to the setting up of the integrated livestock centre in Keningau and revival of Desa Cattle in Kundasang to reap benefits from livestock rearing.

Today, the Desa cattle farm whose potential sale to a businessman five years ago was prevented by Musa in the conviction that no more State assets should be lost, has become such a remarkable success story with 30,000 tourists visiting the 100-acre farm every month or 1,000 a day on average.

He said when in full operation, the projects create employment opportunities for those living in the rural areas and also help create economic spin-offs for surrounding communities.

Touching on palm oil, he said the latest figure has shown that Sabah is the largest producer of Crude Palm Oil (CPO), with over 28 per cent or 4.8 million tonnes in terms of contribution to the national COP production last year.

In terms of revenue, CPO sales tax is the second largest contributor to the State's coffers with an average of between RM800 million to RM1 billion since its implementation. The largest contributor is oil and gas.

"There is promise for growth in the downstream processing of oil palm, making manufacturing another potential revenue earner for the State," he said, adding it was this vision for the future of oil palm that gave birth to the development of the POIC in Lahad Datu and Sandakan, which act as intergrated hubs for downstream processing of oil palm.

He noted that POIC Lahad Datu recorded 44 factory projects with an investment value amounting RM3.35 billion and providing 2,293 jobs.

POIC Sandakan, he said, has implemented three projects with a total investment of RM158 million, plus a new 300 megawatt IPP costing RM1.6 billion will be built there. He expects the IPP to ease power woes that have been plaguing consumers in the east coast, when completed.

He also pointed out that aside from the two POICs, the Government's initiatives and continuous effort in developing infrastructure and basic facilities for investors are demonstrated through the Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park (KKIP), Sabah Oil and Gas Industrial Park (SOGIP), Sabah Ammonia and Urea Project (SAMUR) and all other related projects.

"Our economic plans under the Halatuju should be in line with the Federal initiated Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) and Economic Transformation Programme (ETP)," he said.

He said the State's strategy through the SDC and Halatuju Agenda in establishing key economic clusters have been fruitful.

He added that these initiatives have gained traction as reflected in the State's GDP growth in 2015, at the close of the Second Phase of the SDC, which recorded 6.1 per cent, the fastest GDP growth among all States in Malaysia.


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