Published on: Monday, December 23, 2013
Sulaman Assemblyman Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor made the call in his speech at the district-level 1Malaysia Festival cum Tamu Besar (Major Bazaar), here, Sunday.
Hajiji, who is also Local Government and Housing Minister, said that with the Tourism Master Plan covering the coastal areas from Tuaran to Kota Belud having been approved, the district is now poised to witness a tourism boom taking off.
When tabling the 2014 State Budget at the State Legislative Assembly recently, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said the master plan was essentially a comprehensive development plan that would help the State Government plan the utilisation of the coastal areas from Tuaran to Kota Belud effectively and in a more co-ordinated manner.
"A holistic and integrated development of the coastal areas will certainly benefit the State in general and the people living along the coast specifically," added Musa, who is also State Finance Minister.
He said cluster development, an approach recommended by the plan, will broaden and empower the State's tourism sector and thereby enabling it to contribute meaningfully to Sabah's economic growth.
The Chief Minister announced that RM224 million has been set aside to develop the tourism sector in 2014, adding that the targeted tourist arrivals is 3.4 million with an estimated receipt of RM6.2 billion.
Hajiji said the icing on the cake is another mammoth project costing tens of millions of ringgit - the proposed Tuaran-Kota Belud-Kudat coastal highway.
When completed, the highway coupled with the master plan will indeed turn the Tuaran district into a new major tourist destination which will put the district on the State's tourism map," he pointed out.
The Minister said the two major projects would no doubt increase the economic opportunities that may come their way in years to come," he said.
Hajiji noted that Tuaran is already a tourist destination, with a beautiful coastline where beach resorts including the 5-star Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort and the Dalit Golf Club are found.
Other tourist attractions of the Tuaran district includes the Rumah Terbalik (Upside Down House) at Tamparuli, White Water Rafting along the Tuaran River at Kiulu, apart from the Linangkit Cultural Village showcasing the unique Dusun Lotud culture, and the international Standard Race Course at Tambalang. A cultural centre showcasing the Bajau Sama culture will also be built.
The Tuaran district also houses an Agricultural Research Centre.
Other major projects include the newly-completed Kent College campus and Phase 2 of the District Hospital and Telibong Water Intake Plant, all of which cost ten millions of ringgit.
A multi-million ringgit bridge will also be built across the Tuaran River connecting the people of Sungai Damit/Damat/Bantayan/Tamparuli to Tuaran town, which will benefit the thousands of local residents economically and socially.
"A new growth area will also be created at the Lok Batik area near another tourist destination - the Crocodile Farm - where one thousand units of houses will be built for civil servants, apart from a Sports Complex and government offices, effectively turning the area into a satellite township of Tuaran.
"In other words, the best is yet to come for the Tuaran district and I am excited by it," he concluded, to tremendous applause from the crowd who included the District Officer, Madiyem Layappan, and local Ybs.