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.


LDP’s Chin sad over protracted Mazu issue


LDP Deputy President Datuk Chin Su Phin said yesterday expressed sadness that the protracted issue over the controversial Goddess of the Sea or Mazu statue project in Kudat has forced Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat to bring the matter to the court. In fact, he said, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi himself has disagreed that the location of the Mazu statue project was against the Fatwa. The issue of Mazu is not a matter of not supporting the project and its location, but the most important is that there must be a strong reason acceptable to the people as to why the project has to be relocated elsewhere; and why the Kudat District Council withdrew its approval earlier on the project when the project was already halfway through completion, said Chin. According to him, Chong Kah Kiat, who is a senior lawyer himself, must have ensured that the application for building the Mazu statue was done properly and commenced the project after it was approved by the district council. Chin said that it is illogical for the State Government not to recognise the building plan submitted by the Mazu Foundation headed by Chong after the project was half-completed with the excuse that the project was started without going through the proper procedure..“If the building plan was merely about technical problem, then it would have not forced the foundation to go to the court. It must be the so-called authority behind the matter that led the Kudat District Council to withdraw its initial approval that halted the project,” he stressed. As such, Chin urged leaders from the Chinese community to make their own assessment to determine as to who are correct and who are wrong in handling the project. He strongly believed that the majority from the Chinese community, including the Chinese Cabinet Ministers, know about the whole thing very clearly by now. “But I feel sad that certain Chinese leaders have to bow down to the so-called authority and dare not stand up and speak up for the truth. They must bear in mind that as the elected Wakil Rakyat, they must not protect their own agenda only and forget about the interest of the people,” said Chin. After the Kudat Mazu statue issue, there is another Chinese organization which applied to build a Mazu Temple, said Chin, adding that no matter what, the Kudat Mazu project is already regarded as part of the Chinese community history, a fact no body could deny.Chin also agreed with former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who had made a call recently that the people should vote out the elected representatives who did not carried out their responsibility in serving the people. He expressed the hope that in the coming general election, those picked as the Barisan Nasional (BN) candidates are trustworthy and not corrupt and are fully supported by the people to ensure a big victory for the BN. As for the LDP, Chin noted that party has been firmly loyal to the BN since it was formed 18 years ago and today the LDP remains with the BN in facing the coming election. Nevertheless, he said this does not mean that if the Government has a weakness, the LPD would not speak up and criticize and offer suggestions to correct the Government policies. “The LDP has been doing this all this while since Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat time as President up till now under the leadership of Datuk VK Liew as we feel that it is for the good and betterment of the BN and the people,” said Chin, who conveyed his Chinese New Year greetings to the people.


Chong to defend Sandakan seat


Incumbent independent Member of Parliament Chong Hon Min said he would defend the Sandakan seat that he won during the 2004 general election. “Yes, I will be contesting in the coming general election but will only announce which banner I am going to contest under at an appropriate time,”. Chong disclosed when contacted on Wednesday. Chong, a former banker, created an upset in the last general election when he defeated the then Barisan Nasional incumbent and LDP deputy president Datuk Lau Ngan Siew by 1,330 votes in a three-cornered fight for the predominantly Chinese seat. Chong polled 9,538 votes while two-term parliamentarian Lau managed to secure 8,208 votes. Pasok’s Liaw Teck Khin obtained only 543 votes. Touching on the four years as an elected representative of the Sandakan people, Chong said he was satisfied with his performance and believed he had served the Sandakan constituents to the best of his ability. “During this period, many local folks came tome with their problems and I had given priority in helping to resolve them. I raised the complaints with the relevant authorities, seeking their assistance for a solution. I highlighted important issues affecting the people of Sandakan in parliament,” Chong said. Despite being an Independent member of parliament, Chong said he supported the Barisan Nasional’s development programmes, adding that he had even applied to join Barisan Nasional component party, SAPP. He added that when his application was put on hold, he left the matter as where it was and continued with his duty of serving the Sandakan constituents. Meanwhile, to a question whether this east coast town has seen improvement and development over the last four years, this is what Chong has to say: “Sandakan has experienced changes and progress over the past few years. “We have better infrastructures, improved basic amenities. Electricity has been gradually improved and we have seen lesser power outages nowadays. “The water problem is set to be overcome with the completion of the new treatment plant this September.” “With a strong economy and continuous growth, I believe Sandakan is in for more successes in the years to come,” he said.


Sabah BN will trounce opposition, says Mohd Lan


The Barisan Nasional would handily defeat the opposition in the coming general election and continue with its work of developing the state, said Sabah Backbenchers Club Chairman Datuk Mohd Lan Allani. He said that feedback gathered over the past one year indicates that despite occasional rumblings of discontent and criticism against the Government over isolated issues, the general population is overwhelming supportive of the BN government’s performance. Of late the opposition has been trying hard to sow discord between BN parties by harping on old issues that are already being addressed by the BN, said Lan in a statement yesterday. “The issues of illegal immigrants, rights of Sabahans, alleged cronyism and corruption are nothing new. These issues have been raised before,” he said. Mohd Lan said the opposition know that the BN has been dealing quietly with issues which take time to resolve, yet they continue to exploit them for political mileage by hurling unfounded allegations against the government. He said the BN would let the people to judge it on its track record and focus on explaining its programs and policies clearly so the people would be able to make the right decision at the polls. “I know the people are capable of distinguishing between the truth and lies. I am confident they will return the BN to power with an overwhelming majority,” he said, adding that the opposition will fail again in Sabah.