KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) reiterated its stance on the proposed Tanjung Aru beach reclamation for commercial development involving 739 acres, more than double the size of the Sutera Harbour project.
SAPP urged the government to leave the beach for the general public and ordinary people.
"The duty and responsibility of the government is to upkeep and maintain the beach, making sure it is safe and accessible to the public. It is not the business of the government to be involved in commercial development and seemingly develop it for the rich and wealthy," said SAPP.
A team from SAPP visited the Environment Protection Department office to view the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report on the proposed Tanjung Aru Eco Development (TAED) project.
Tanjung Aru beach as a Sabah heritage has always been the same for more than 50 years nd to argue that it is exposed to erosion is diverting from the real issue, it said.
By observation the local authority has not been doing their part in maintaining the beach for years. It is the responsibility of the local authority to maintain the park and prevent the beach from further pollution by rubbish and improper discharge of sewage.
The local authority should constantly beautify and upgrade the facilities around the park and the beach. Obviously the government agencies had failed in their duties, it said.
SAPP claimed it is concerned not just over the environmental impact but also the social impact likely to be caused by the proposed new Tanjung Aru development, said John Stephen, SAPP Kota Kinabalu Youth Chief.
The Government had said that under the Tanjung Aru Beach Rejuvenation Project, it is giving back to the people 68 per cent as public areas while the remaining 32 per cent is earmarked for development.
"What is the rationale that the people get only 68 per cent as public areas when by right it should be 100 per cent belonging to the people, like for the past 50 years," asked John.
"One cannot imagine, if Tanjung Aru Beach is shrunk or diminished in the Sabah map just because the best beach in Malaysia has to pave the way for a commercial development.
"There are many other alternative places that the government could consider developing into coastal recreational and commercial area such as Pantai Manis, Pantai Melinsung in Papar and Kinarut beach.
Meanwhile, SAPP Wanita chief, Melanie Chia said the State Government had vouched that there will be no more seafront reclamation in the State Capital.
She said in July 2012 the Sabah government tabled in the State Legislative Assembly the amendment to the Land Ordinance prohibiting further reclamation to the Kota Kinabalu waterfront to make it difficult for others in future to easily reclaim the area in question.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman had then said the protection of the city's waterfront from further reclamation was for the benefit of future generations.
"Many quarters applauded the Chief Minister's decision then, including the Tourism Minister who had then said that 'this is not only for our tourism industry but it is for our future generation, our children, our people'," she said.
According to the TOR of the SEIA, the footprint of the TAED integrated development project is 739 acres of which 444 acres are to be reclaimed. The reclamation would require 17 million cubic meters of fill material the source of which has not yet been identified.
Chia believed this was perhaps the biggest reclamation work ever carried in Kota Kinabalu and the extent of the works at the seafront area will have greater effect on the coastline and the eco-system in the surrounding area.
The source of such an enormous quantity of fill material is also of concern, she said, cautioning that dredging of the seabed for sand is a no go.
Chia said SAPP was not against development.
"By all means, go ahead with the redevelopment where the old quarters are and the private land which TAED had acquired.
"Yes rehabilitate Prince Phillip Park and the Tg Aru beach but there is no need to reclaim the sea to have a new beach."
Others from SAPP during the visit were Information Chief Chong Pit Fah, Secretary General cum Tanjung Aru CLC Chairman Datuk Richard Yong, Supreme Councillors Carrie Fong Tet Meng and Chia Miu Lee.
From: SaSa General FEED