KOTA KINABALU: Positive initial reaction was garnered from environmentalists on the announcement of Tanjung Aru Eco Development’s (TAED) modified plan minus the sea reclamation.
However, they wished to delve into more new details of the project.
Save Open Space Kota Kinabalu (SOS KK) coordinator SM Muthu responding to Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin’s announcement that the project will be continued on a smaller scale, reminded that the non-governmental body which has been vocal about TAED, was never against development.
“I am very happy there is no reclamation involved, I want to put things right as people misunderstand – we do not reject development but we want sustainable development.
“However, we hope to meet up with the authorities including the Deputy Chief Minister (Bung Moktar) so we can get into the finer points (of the project).
“We want to ensure whatever construction is following the law – the means must justify the end.
“We also want to reiterate that the beachfront to be kept as an open public area, as it has always been a popular recreation place for people with lots of memories for locals,” he said.
The multi-billion ringgit project which was launched during Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s time involved a controversial redevelopment of the iconic Tanjung Aru beach.
Communities and environmentalists have been vocal against it, due to the environmental impact from the reclamation as well as taking away the beach from the public if it was privatised.
“Another thing that we want to highlight is the rugby field there, we hope the government will preserve the space and not turn it into another development
“It was included in the previous TAED plan, we do not know what development was meant there but they were planning to turn it into something new,” Muthu added.
He said in the original plan, the Prince Phillip Park was also to be moved to a reclamation spot, so now they would like to see how all the things would fit on a smaller scale.
An environmentalist based in Kota Kinabalu echoed Muthu’s sentiment, saying that the initial announcement was in the right direction.
“For Tanjung Aru, we have always said no reclamation or loss of beachfront is okay.
“No one said don’t develop; just don’t steal our public spaces,” said the lass who did not wish to be named.