Daily Express
INDEPENDENT NATIONAL NEWSPAPER OF EAST MALAYSIA
Established since 1963
Major facelift for Tg Aru

Published on: Sunday, January 01, 2012

Kota Kinabalu: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman announced that the State Government will be embarking upon a "Tanjung Aru Regeneration Programme", as a special New Year present to the people of Sabah.

He said this was made possible by the recent legal victory in the suit to gain back the Tanjung Aru lands that were supposed to be developed many years ago by a private company.

"We are indeed thankful for the win," he said, Saturday.

"As we poise ourselves to meet the tremendous challenges of another dynamic year ahead, it is time to pause, take stock and re-set our priorities.

"In our journey towards development and better futures, we should never lose sight of our blessings. Chief among them that makes Sabah unique is the invaluable natural heritage and assets that make up our homeland.

"In an ever-changing world, we need to be more mindful than ever as we see other cities in nations across the globe get taken over by concrete jungles," he said.

Musa, who is also State Finance Minister, said neglect and misuse of precious land is inexcusable. What more for an icon as Tanjung Aru, where the lands have been left undeveloped, run down, and are now sadly an eye sore.

"Many of you and your parents will remember the days of old when the famed Tanjung Aru Beach was at its prime.

"It was a must-go attraction for all Sabahans, charming young and old alike with its allure of beautiful sandy beaches, clean water, famous Aru trees, and the most magnificent of golden sunsets anyone can find around the world.

"Today, many still come from far and wide for a glimpse of that sunset.

However, the beach is a little worse for wear and pollutants need to be stopped from pouring into the sea.

"Everyone will agree it is time to bring the lustre back to our iconic Tanjung Aru so that it stands as a shining legacy to our children and the generations to come after them," he said.

"Therefore, in the dawn of this New Year, we will see the birth of The Tanjung Aru Regeneration Programme." The entire programme will be overseen and implemented by Tanjung Aru Eco Development Sdn Bhd (TAED), a wholly Government-owned company.

To ensure its success, the State would be tapping into the various expertise, capacity and high momentum of the private sector.

The Board of TAED would be chaired by himself, and includes the State Secretary, the State Attorney General, MOF's Permanent Secretary, the Mayor, the Land and Survey Director as well as a prominent entrepreneur from the private sector who will take up the appointment of Executive Director to lead the Company and head the programme.

He has had many decades of experience in various industries and was responsible for the well-known CSR initiative, Perdana Park at Hone Place in Tanjung Aru.

He has also politely declined the State's offer of remuneration to him for his services, but nevertheless, the Government will keep this option open.

"An Exco Committee has been formed to make key operational decisions and will consist of the State Secretary, MOF's Permanent Secretary and the Executive Director.

"I have every confidence that together, they will achieve a dynamic synergy to bring about the transformation and regeneration of Tanjung Aru within the next few years," he said.

Musa said there would be a dynamic and eco-friendly Master Plan with a total land area of approximately 52 hectares, drawn up by the best International Master Planners in consultation with local stakeholders to match set objectives.

Emphasis would be on retaining green lungs and all buildings would have to be low-rise and eco-friendly, while focussing on the tourism sector as an income driver to bring a multiplier effect to the local communities.

The Master Plan would be made available for public viewing in due time.

He said the beachfront of Tanjung Aru belongs to the people of Sabah, and this recreational area will always remain a perpetual heritage to be enjoyed by all generations.

Through the programme, it would be restored and rebuilt to bring back its charm and make it safe solely for public enjoyment.

Nonetheless, he said the regeneration of Tanjung Aru is a mammoth undertaking of phenomenal proportions and technical complexities requiring millions of Ringgit to be poured in over the span of a few years in order to achieve the desired results.

The funding would be obtained by the State Government through the sale of lots that will be situated away from the beachfront to foreign investors for development under the Master Plan that would be tendered out.

He said these open tenders would be called on an international scale, with invitations going to foreign investors and developers to increase FDI to the State of Sabah.

"The aim is for hotels, condominiums, recreational facilities and other infrastructure will be built in a controlled, integrated eco-friendly design framework.

"We are confident Tanjung Aru will be just as successful as Perdana Park and once again become a recreational area where our families can enjoy the beach, the sea and engage in other leisure activities.

"It has given me a great pleasure to make this announcement.

Let us look forward to Tanjung Aru's renaissance and all together, as the people of Sabah, start the new year on a stronger footing.

"On behalf of the State Government, I wish everyone a happy and prosperous New Year and hope that 2012 will be a better year for every Sabahan, in every walk of life," he said.