Kuala Penyu Fishery Complex fiasco
Published on: Tuesday, August 13, 2019
By: David Thien

KUALA PENYU: The continued abandonment of the RM7.5 million Kuala Penyu Ko-Nelayan Fishery Complex fiasco here raises more questions but no answers are forthcoming as to why it failed. It was supposed to position Kuala Penyu as a fish landing hub under the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC).

It encroaches about 120 feet on the township’s market bank of the Kuala Penyu River which environmentalists decried devoid of detailed study of the hydrologic, hydraulic and geotechnical, waste-water disposal and river-bank erosion impact as well as nature catastrophic analysis. 

They called for adherence to the Sabah Building By-Laws 1961, the Environment Quality Act 974 and the EPA Act 2002, as there should not be any double standard in the rule of law.

This project should have been now seen as a success story of the SDC but is touted as another “good planning but terrible implementation” notoriety that Sabah has to bear in reputation, wasting taxpayers and public funds that leaders have to be made accountable for.

The consultants and contractors involved were never held professionally responsible in accountability for the fiasco, nor the civil servants and politicians involved, overseeing Ko-Nelayan. Despite calls for a mandatory EIA Report on the project by environmentalists, the requirement was ignored which led to this fiasco.

The then Sabah Fisheries and Fishermen’s Development Cooperative (Ko-Nelayan) general manager Datuk Masood Salleh explained a complaint by the Sabah Environment Action Centre for not complying with compulsory EIA requirement, as not required for it was a government-funded project to be completed within the 10th Malaysia Plan.

Now the 11th Malaysia Plan is set to be replaced by the 12th Malaysia Plan, but the project is still in limbo as seen by Daily Express on August 3, 2019 (pic). Masood Salleh was reported to have said, “We need to become a hub and see more vessels coming here, otherwise, Kuala Penyu will remain a very sleepy town.”

He was right, a check at the fish market, there were more fishmongers and flies than customers. It was heartening that female fishmongers were in business there unlike male dominated markets elsewhere.

“If we can implement this, then vessels from the State capital or even as far as Labuan, would go to Kuala Penyu to buy fish,” he said.

On Monday, June 18, 2018, more than a year ago, Daily Express’ journalist Oliver Voon reported that the Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority (Sedia) had appointed an independent examiner consultant to conduct a structural integrity assessement and forensic engineering study on the project after it was stopped more than four years ago, located some 135km from the State capital’s Ko-Nelayan centre.

Sinking insecure structural piles in the riverbed affected the structural integrity of the complex building since work started on Oct 16, 2010 and completed on April 30, 2011. 

Building work started on Sept 12, 2012 but failed to complete on schedule on Sept 11, 2013. 

It was extended to be completed on Jan 19, 2016, but was stopped on April 8, 2015 due to structural woes.

Kuala Penyu which has a population of some 30,000 from 22,000 in 2010 are involved in agriculture and fishery activities.



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