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KK historical structures under threat?

 | July 6, 2012

A former Sabah chief minister is demanding transparency following several state land deals that have been sprung on the public without notice.

KOTA KINABALU: City dwellers here are holding their heads in disbelief as another piece of historical property appears to be ready for the market.

The state government’s recent announcement that the Sabah’s main court house in the city will be closed and a new court complex built well outside the city centre has put a question mark over the future of all the buildings and park adjoining it.

It’s enough to get a former Sabah chief minister demand transparency following several other state land deals that have been sprung on the public without notice.

Yong Teck Lee, the leader of the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP), wants the state Barisan Nasional government to guarantee that the various prime pieces of state land in the city are protected and preserved for public purposes.

City dwellers and Sabahans in general, he said, are worried that the present site of the High Court and its neighbouring buildings such as the State Library, KK City Hall office and car park, the Women and Children’s Clinic and the Chong Thien Vun Park, will be taken over for re-development.

“All that the people want is for the chief minister to guarantee that the High Court, library and adjoining lands in the city centre will be permanently preserved for public purpose,” he said in a statement.

Yong was speaking in response to Deputy Chief Minister Dr Yee Moh Chai’s claim that he was misleading the people on the matter as no development plan had been submitted to City Hall.

Yee said that the land is under the jurisdiction of the federal government and the state government was offering a new site at Bukit Punai to the federal government to build a new court house “since the present High Court building was undergoing renovation”.

Yong, however, dismissed Yee’s explanation saying: “Everybody knows that by the time the developer submits the development plan to DBKK for approval, it would already be too late to save the land for public purpose because by then the company would have acquired legally binding rights over the land.”

He said this could be seen in the recent takeover of the 59.21-acre state railway reserve land at Kapayan by a KL developer.

Yee’s ignorance

“Did they submit any development plan to City Hall first, or was the company granted land rights before the plan was submitted to City Hall?” he asked.

He said Yee’s argument that a new court house was being built in Bukit Punai since the present High Court building was undergoing renovation was puzzling.

“Does Yee mean that after the renovations of the existing High Court building, the High Court will be re-located back again from Bukit Punai?”

He said something similar was said when the government announced the relocation of the City Library to make way for the High Court.

“Later it was revealed that the High Court too would be moved away instead.

“This was only made known to the public by ex-chief minister Harris Salleh on June 20 and confirmed by Chief Minister Musa Aman on June 22 this year. So, what will happen to both the High Court land and the library land?

He said the people’s memories are still fresh over the proposed plans to relocate the KK central market and the issue of the Atkinson Clock Tower.

“It is reliably learnt that the high-rise commercial project adjoining the Atkinson Tower will be restarted after the coming general election.

“If not for the heritage conservation status granted to the Atkinson Tower in 1997/98 under the Cultural Heritage Conservation Enactment 1997, the Atkinson Clock Tower would have disappeared,” he said.


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