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Skytrain, Jesselton New City
Published on: Tuesday, November 30, 2021
By: Larry Ralon
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Artist impression of the Jesselton New City, right pic is example of skytrain to be used in Sabah.
Kota Kinabalu: The state capital is set to have its own rapid transit system with the proposed deal involving four firms, including a subsidiary of the State Government’s investment arm, Qhazanah Sabah Berhad (QSB).

 The company WHSB Ventures Sdn Bhd has teamed up with Vizione Construction Sdn Bhd, Sycal Skycity Sdn Bhd and Guangcai China (M) Sdn Bhd for the multi billion ringgit project that would see a skytrain service connecting Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) to Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) via the city’s downtown area.

 Representatives of the four companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) at the Magellan Sutera Harbour, Monday, to further explore the project’s implementation. It was witnessed by Deputy Chief Minister cum Works Minister, Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin.  

 The signatories were WHSB Chairman Datuk Ahmad Thamrin Mohd Jaini and its Company Secretary Noor Afzalinah Afzul Khan; while Vizione Construction by Selene Lee Pei Chuan who represented Managing Director Datuk Ng Aun Hooi and Executive Director Tan Kooi Kok; Sycal Skycity by its Directors Daniel Ling Kwok Chung and Teng Car Men; and Guangcai China (M) Sdn Bhd by its President Teng Chi Wai and Executive Director Chun Yun Hing.  

“The objective of this MOU is to establish a formal non-binding collaboration and cooperation related to the preparation and the implementation of the project pending final negotiations leading to a formal binding agreement between the parties,” said WVSB after the MoU signing.

The company said the massive project would be undertaken over two phases.

The first phase encompassed the first portion of the skytrain project as well as a 64-hectare mixed commercial development to be built next to the Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC) along the Likas Bay.

 The first phase of the skytrain would span a distance of 10.5km from KKIA to the city centre as well as the mixed development to be known as Jesselton New City.

 WVSB said the first portion of the skytrain to be built over three years was estimated to cost nearly RM1b and would be funded by a group of investors.

 The company said the skytrain would run between KKIA, the KK Central Terminal onto the Gaya Street terminal before ending up as a terminal at the Jesselton New City.

“The initial proposal is for a concession management to operate the skytrain service through a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) in which a stake in that entity shall be in the form of free shares and shall be owned by the Sabah Government. This will be established at a later stage,” said WVSB.

 On the Jesselton New City project along the scenic Tanjung Lipat, WVSB said the development package on this land would be to reciprocate the investors in the joint venture company for this development.

“The terms and conditions for the joint venture will be refined accordingly upon further studies and discussions by the group of investors and subject to the Government approval,” said the company.

WVSB said the Jesselton New City development with an estimated gross development value RM5b was expected to be completed in six years.

 It said the second phase of the skytrain to be known as KKIA Express Line 2 would span over 15km from Jesselton Central Terminal to the State government administrative centre as well the Federal administrative centre, UMS and finally the Alamesra commercial and residential area.

The company said the KKIA Express Line 2 was expected to cost some RM1.425bil and to be implemented via a private funding initiative (PFI).

WVSB, which has been involved in property development services and ownership, said it had been selected to administer the project.

This came after the State Government, through the State Works Minister, has mandated QSB for the Jesselton New City project at the Likas Bay, said the company.

 It informed that Vizione Construction Sdn Bhd is an integrated construction outfit with capabilities in civil engineering and construction of residential and mixed-use development properties and would be the project developer.

 “Within its construction segment, there are three core businesses namely building construction services, infrastructure construction services and development services,” WVSB said.

 WVSB further indicated that Sycal Skycity Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Sycal Ventures Bhd, whose principal businesses include building and infrastructure construction services as well as development activities, would be the project funder.

Meanwhile, Guangcai China (M) Sdn Bhd, which is involved in the export and import of other clay building materials; export and import of a variety of goods without any particular specialisation; hotels and resort hotels, would be the project management consultant.

 When met later, Bung expressed great confidence that these skytrain and Jesselton New City projects, which will be one of the game-changers for the State economy, would be a reality.  

“I am very confident. I think this is good for Sabah and its people. This is one of the game-changers for the State economy.

“We have a timeframe. Maybe we will start in February next year,” said Bung, who disclosed he will be visiting the manufacturer of the skytrain to be used in Sabah soon.    

About the Jesselton New City project, Bung said this had been planned long ago when he met with a group of investors from Hong Kong and China who were willing to invest in the skytrain and theme park projects in Sabah. 

Whether this would affect Tanjung Lipat beach or any of the diving spots nearby, Bung said: “No, I don’t think so. But of course, I have expected that anything that we propose the people will object, but sooner or later they will accept it...but I think this one is good for us. 

“Maybe there will be a bit of reclamation work involved, but everything will go through the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA),” said Bung, adding the Jesselton New City project will be developed next to the SICC. 

After this skytrain becomes a reality, Bung said maybe he will look at a high-speed train for Sabah. 

 There have been calls previously for a skytrain or similar mass rapid system to serve the KK-Tuaran and KK-Papar routes in view of the serious congestion on both these routes during peak hours by civil servants and others staying in these two districts but working in the city. 

 

Bung Moktar (centre) witnessed as the representatives sign the MOU documents. 

 



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