Wednesday, 4 July 2018

(NST) Sabah may consider downsizing Tanjung Aru project

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government is putting the brakes on the Tanjung Aru Eco Development (TAED) to review the mega beach front project.

Downsizing would likely be one of the considerations to ensure a win-win situation between investors and public interest.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal in responding to a supplementary question from Phoong Jin Zhe (Luyang-DAP) at the state legislative assembly sitting, said the state government is aware of the need to develop the tourism sector but not at the expense of the people.

"TAED involves 348 hectares, of which 252 hectares involves land reclamation. The state government will review the project.

"This project carries a huge cost of between RM2 billion to RM 3 billion. We are aware of (public) objections in the past and we will decide whether to continue, or downsize.

"Any development forward must be (done) in public interest," he said on query whether the existing shoreline will be mantained or reclamation works will be continued under TAED, during the question and answer session.

Phoong earlier asked about the latest status of the project - which was a controversial topic amongst public and environmentalists that wanted the beach to be mantained as public area - which the government announced as being halted earlier.

The ground breaking ceremony for the project was launched by the then Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in 2013.

Responding to Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan's (Tambunan-Star) question on the implication towards the foreign investors involved in TAED, Mohd Shafie said; "I am sure investors come to make gains but we must also be mindful on the 'eco' part.

"It does not mean we are shutting down the project that is why we may consider downsizing.

"It is not yet determined so we will look into this in detail. But we must ensure the benefit is on the state government and the people's side," he said, adding that the previous state government had so far spent RM60 million on the project.

On an additional question from Datuk Bolkiah Ismail (Pitas-independent) whether they have referred to the current federal government on the RM500 million funding for the project allocated by the previous federal administration, Shafie said financial matters are being sorted out, stating that any developments must ensure no leakages.