Master Plan for touristic Pulau Gaya being drawn up
Published on: Thursday, July 11, 2013
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Kota Kinabalu: The State Government will develop the historical island of Pulau Gaya into a premier tourism hub as promised, assured Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Dato' Seri Dr Shahidan Kassim.He said this in a written reply to DAP Kota Kinabalu MP, Jimmy Wong Tze Phin, in Parliament. The State Government, he said, would prepare a Master Plan for the development of the island.

At the moment, there are three top class resorts on the island namely Gayana Island Resort, Bunga Raya Resort & Spa and Gaya Island Resort.

He said the development of Pulau Gaya would also resolve the problem besetting the island by relocating the villagers there, many of whom are squatters. A police base would also be set up.

On illegal immigrants staying in the island, he said, the Government has carried out various measures including continued efforts to prevent their entry into Sabah, he said.

"This is not only carried out in Pulau Gaya but throughout Sabah through operations such as the Ops Tanduk, Ops Bersepadu, Ops Nyah II, Ops Badang, Ops Pasir and Ops Sayang, among others," he said.

He acknowledged that the indiscriminate discarding of rubbish by villagers along the settlements in the island have been causing pollution.

Shahidan said the government, through Sabah Parks, has received three proposals to build resorts namely Asia World Resort Sdn Bhd, Mewabumi Holidays Sdn Bhd and Sinasetia Sdn Bhd.

Pulau Gaya for almost two decades became the preferred colonial outpost when the initial one by the British at Pulau Balambangan failed.

Following raids by pirates and the rebel Mat Salleh, it was decided around 1900 that better protection could be afforded for the chartered company's operations by moving to the mainland which led to the founding of Jesselton (renamed Kota Kinabalu in 1967).

An expedition recently discovered much biodiversity on the island, including even the existence of proboscis monkeys. Some 90 per cent of the island which is shaped like an orchid is a gazetted national park while the remaining comprise originally native titled lands issued to the original settlers before the war. The island offers spectacular views of the KK coastline and Mount Kinabalu.

Meanwhile, Sugut Assemblyman Datuk James Ratib said an action plan must be drawn up to turn Pulau Jambongan here into a tourism destination.

He said the island has a lot of potential to be developed as a tourism centre.

"If this is realised, we can also overcome poverty in the area phase by phase," he said at the distribution of water tanks to villagers at Jambongan.

The existing sea cucumber farming activities there, he said, is also a catalyst to the enhancement of income by the islanders.

He also called on the Government to build a water treatment plant in the island. According to him, a water source has already been identified.


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