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Tg Aru plan a blessing for Sabah: Chamber

Published on: Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Kota Kinabalu: The proposed Tanjung Aru Eco Development (TAED) revival project received full support from the Sabah United Chinese Chambers of Commerce (SUCCC).

If properly executed the project could attract more foreign investments and tourists into Sabah, said its President Datuk Seri Panglima Gan Sau Wah.

"The TAED would also create an iconic destination for people in the Greater Kota Kinabalu to enjoy. The price of property and land will also appreciate after this project is implemented," he said at a press conference, Monday, while responding to the announcement of the project by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Hj Aman.

He noted that Kota Kinabalu is an important city in the Asean region and he was convinced that the implementation would further enhance the image of Sabah in the region, besides elevating the people's standard of living and create more job opportunities.

Gan called on the people of Sabah, those residing in Kota Kinabalu, to realise that this project would bring immense benefits not only to them, but for the next generations as well.

He praised Musa for his far sightedness and expressed confidence that with his (Musa) leadership this development project will be a success and bring about tremendous benefits to the people of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah as a whole.

"This revival plan proves Musa is a visionary man," said Gan.He also noted that under the proposed masterplan, the size of Prince Philip Park would be expanded to more than double its existing size, whilst the environmental impact and environmental sustainability will be studied by experts.

"Personally, I think that there will be no progress if we are unwilling to change.

If we stubbornly resist change, there will be no future. For instance, Singapore has resorted to sea reclamation for developments as it has run out of land.

"Don't object to the masterplan due to small issues. I believe this project, under the State Government and Musa's leadership, will soon be realised," he said.

Meanwhile, the Sabah Environmental Protection Association (Sepa) expressed disappointment with the State Government's announcement that the project is being finalised without any public consultations.

"We are not against development nor job creation for Sabahans but this must be done hand in hand with Sabahans, the public loves this beach and more importantly the public uses the beach.

"Which is why we call on the Chief Minister as the head of TAED and the Kota Kinabalu City Hall to have a dialogue with the public, as promised on the last Malaysia Day Celebrations that an area would be set up for the public to view the development and for questions to be raised and answered," said Sepa President Lanash Thanda.

"Before the plans are submitted to Cabinet for approval, the public should have prior knowledge of the development plans, are informed with the details and finally consent to the type of development that would affect us.

Only then should the plans be sent to Cabinet for approval," said Lanash.

DAP Sabah suggested the State Government submit the TAED plan to the State Assembly to be discussed thoroughly by the House members.

Its Sabah chief, Jimmy Wong claimed the State Government's announcement that the Tanjung Aru beach will be kept for public use contradicted the KK Local Draft Plan 2020. He said despite assurances the beach would be for public use and entire beach to be upgraded under the slogan "Return Tanjung Aru Beach to the People" it was worrying to see the entire beach had been proposed for to be rezoned for "hotel and resort" purpose instead of "public and recreation" in the KK Local Draft Plan 2020.

He said the State Cabinet should show their sincerity by zoning Tanjung Aru under public label which is in green, then upgrading the entire beach in term of facilities and public accessibility to return Tanjung Aru beach to the people.

"Although the TAED planning unit is a government-owned company, but public still worried that it is just another privatisation programme which will eventually benefit the commercial but not the people," said Wong who is also Kota Kinabalu MP.

Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) Wanita Chief Melanie Chia expressed objections to the proposed plan in and around the Tanjung Aru Beach, which is an icon to Kota Kinabalu City and remains an important asset to the city.

In this respect, she objected to the extensive reclamation proposed at the beach front here (extending to hundreds of acres of reclaimed land) and the reclaimed seafront land is marked for Hotel and Resort purposes.

She contended that such massive reclamation would alter the iconic feature of the Tanjung Aru Beach.

According to her, similar pledges to preserve open spaces making them accessible and safe and attractive to the public were also made in City Hall's Open Space Vision.

Therefore, in line with these pledges to uplift and enhance the quality of life of city dwellers and preserve this valuable asset of the city, the City Hall has to rectify the local plan to ensure that the Tanjung Aru Beach remained accessible to the public.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman in a statement on Sunday had stated that the master plan for TAED had been finalised after it was approved by the TAED Sdn Bhd board of directors.

Stating that the masterplan would be tabled to the State Cabinet for consideration soon, Musa said the master plan had been meticulously planned to restore and revive Tanjung Aru beach and Prince Philip Park for the communities in Kota Kinabalu and Sabah, while creating a catalyst project to spur growth and investment.

"The rejuvenation of Tanjung Aru beach and Prince Philip Park is the cornerstone of the TAED revival project," he said.