Published on: Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Kota Kinabalu: A report posted on the Net claims that the RM200m five-star Resort Alorie Lepa Lepa Resort on Mabul designed to establish Semporna as a Borneo Marine Paradise has been abandoned for six months while its Chief Executive Officer (named) cannot be reached.
The reported, filed by so-called Sabah-based "Concerned Tour Operators", said they fear 'the manner in which the project was abandoned reminds them of another controversial tourism-related project, the Kudat Riveria Resort Villa, which was launched in 2006 but abandoned after the United Kingdom-based project owner allegedly absconded, after having sold most of the units there.
Their fear is that, Alorie Lepa Lepa Resort, which sprawled over 32.37 hectres, and boast 88 pool villas with a minimum price tag of RM3.1 million, may end up like the Kudat Riveria Resort Villa project.
Already, 40 out of the 88 villas had been sold on a leaseback basis.
The built-ups are between 2,200 and 500 sq ft with prices from RM2.8m to RM5.5m for each unit, in addition to a honeymoon suite which will not be sold.
The project, listed under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's Economic Transformation Program (ETP), is implemented with a time-sharing concept with option to purchase units as service lots managed by Alorie Hospitality, a Caucasian chain, identifying Jean Marc Lafosse as it founder and CEO.
A buyer would receive seven per cent returns on investment per annum for the first five years and from the sixth year, the returns are expected to be higher. Facilities would include a state-of-art underwater restaurant, a spa, scuba diving centre and a marine conservation centre.
However, Concerned Tour Operators claimed that when they visited the project site recently to check the progress whether it would be ready for next year's Visit Malaysian Year 2014, they were shocked the site riddled with thousands of huge concrete piling columns protruding from the seabed out of the water surface, spanning about 1 kilometre long.
Locals told them the project was abandoned six months ago, the contractors had left, the CEO of the developer company (a Sabahan) is out of reach, they claimed.
"As now, all that were left behind are thousands of huge concrete pilling columns which are not only a terrible eyesore and a 'monument' of shame, worse still, a potential environmental disaster! they claimed. The group called for a serious and urgent government intervention to break the rot before further damage.
"If one look at the video footages, the presence of existing tour operators' chalets in Mabul island is already a complete environmental disaster if one can imagine the volume of sewage produced daily! The abandoned piling further aggravated the situation," Concerned Tour Operators added.
Yet the lofty founding intentions were that this project would "set a benchmark in Malaysia for a sustainable tourism development that fulfills the highest standards of implementation, administration and monitoring, and will have minimum impact on the physical, ecological and socio-economic aspects of Pulau Mabul," the operators quoted a Jewel Mabul website.