Tanjung Aru project may continue, says Shafie

Chief Minister Shafie Apdal says the state government recognises that the project will provide job opportunities and boost the tourism industry. (Bernama pic)

KOTA KINABALU: The billion-ringgit Tanjung Aru Eco-Development (TAED) scheme may not be scrapped as it is too important for the state, says Chief Minister Shafie Apdal.

Speaking during the question-and-answer session at the Sabah state legislative assembly sitting here today, Shafie said the state government would review the development plans.

He added that the state government would take into account the people’s views and the interests of the government and investors before making a final decision.

Shafie said the project, expected to upgrade and change the face of 861 acres of land, including 253 acres of proposed reclaimed land, was approved according to law by the head of state on the recommendation of the previous state government in 2014.

“The state government will need a bit of time to study the financial implications of the project. We recognise its importance as it will attract investors and benefit the local economy.

“The shoreline may be maintained as we also acknowledge the protests by environmentalists. The state government will not carry out projects at the expense of the people.”

TAED is a mixed development project at Tanjung Aru in Kota Kinabalu. It entails the construction of hotels, residential units, marinas, entertainment outlets and other amenities.

Part of the area will be transformed into a rainforest, intended to rejuvenate the nearby Prince Philip Park.

The project drew concerns from local conservation groups who claimed it was unfriendly to the public and lacking in transparency, and launched a petition to stop the project.

Due to the concerns raised, a Special Environmental Impact Assessment (SEIA) report on the project was released in 2016 to share feedback and recommendations from the public.

Parti Warisan Sabah had used the project to garner support from the locals in the area who were against the project as they were worried that it would affect their livelihoods as fishermen.

Tanjung Aru assemblyman and Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Junz Wong was reported to have said last month that the project had been scrapped.

However, Shafie said rather than totally scrapping the project, the state government would conduct another study on how it could carry on with it for the benefit of all parties.

“I am not saying we will stop work or downsize because this project is very important to me. But equally important is the need to preserve the environment.

“We will take into account not just the interests of the investors but also the wishes of the locals.

“We recognise the project will provide job opportunities to the locals and boost the tourism industry in the state,” he said.