Friday, February 15, 2008


City won’t be turned into ‘concrete jungle’
Govt waiting for revised KK waterfront plan, says minister


The appeal by Sabah Environment Protection Association (SEPA) not to turn Kota Kinabalu into a ‘concrete jungle’ is in fact in line with the State Government’s development philosophy, said Resources Development and IT Minister Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai, Tuesday. The Kota Kinabalu Member of Parliament, in responding to SEPA’s recent comment on the plan to develop hotels and a two kilometer boardwalk along the City’s waterfront, said the State Government has always been thoughtful in planning for development and promotes environmental friendly approaches. He said the State Government is fully aware of the issues brought up by the people in regards to the development project at the esplanade and always take everyone’s opinion very seriously. Furthermore, the Government, just like everyone else, is equally concerned about the end result of the development project and wants to make sure that it is in line with the State’s policy which emphasizes on protecting the environment while promoting sustainable development. “We are always mindful to make sure whatever plan being put forward to the State Government is carefully reviewed. We will make sure that Kota Kinabalu is not going to be turned into that (concrete jungle). “It is important to have development but that must be done according to the mindset and philosophy of the State Government, in line with the effort to preserve the uniqueness richness of the environment,” said Yee. He explained that the State Government had directed the developer to revise the initial plan to better suit this policy and is currently waiting for the City Hall to submit the revised plan to be reviewed by the Cabinet. The proposed RM500 million Waterfront project announced by City Hall early December last year sparked numerous protests as many expressed their worries that the project may hurt the sensitive environment along the City’s shoreline and jeopardize the Kota Kinabalu’s image as a tropical City. SEPA President Datuk Sue Jayasuria earlier this month said the Waterfront project should not be done at the expense of the beauty and tranquility of the city and suggested that the Government should give City Hall the money to construct the boardwalk without having to ask the private sector to do it, only to be hidden by concrete buildings. “There are a few issues there. The water front development project generated different opinions and the Government is fully aware of it,” said Yee, stressing the Government look into any complaint and not just from a particular group of people. Asked whether the State Government is concerned if the controversial project would cause negative effect in the election, he said: “Of course we do. Any government which is not concerned about the sentiment brought up by the people would have a lot of problem. “And that is why the Government always take into consideration any matter being voiced by the people. We are taking everyone’s opinion very seriously. This is how the government has been approaching matters that concern the people. After all what affect the people will affect us.” On when the revised plan is expected to be completed he said it is fair to give City Hall some time to submit the plan.