New gardens, parks better than RM20 mil botanical garden, says Yong

Former Sabah chief minister Yong Teck Lee says Kota Kinabalu needs more gardens and parks, not a RM20 million botanical garden.

KOTA KINABALU: The state government should consider opening new gardens and parks instead of spending RM20 million to put up a botanical garden in an existing public park as part of plans for a greener Kota Kinabalu.

Former chief minister Yong Teck Lee said that instead of building a botanical garden in an existing park, the government should open new spaces to cater to the needs of the rising urban population in the state capital.

Kota Kinabalu City Hall (DBKK) director-general Noorliza Awang Alip announced last week that a botanical garden will be built at Taman Tun Fuad Stephens in Bukit Padang.

In a statement today, Yong said what Taman Tun Fuad Stephens needs is to upgrade its facilities. The park is popular with residents who go there to jog and hike.

The Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president said a “basic” botanical garden was started at an open space adjoining the Government Printing Department building site at Mile 2½, Tuaran Road in 1997.

“That botanical garden is part of the proposed bigger Likas Green Belt that stretches from there to the Likas Sports Complex and the Bird Sanctuary and Likas Lagoons along the Coastal Highway at Likas Bay,” he said.

Acknowledging that major recreational parks, complete with cycling and jogging tracks, can take years to develop and mature, he said it is overdue for the government to implement the Likas Green Belt.

“If need be, the proposed botanical garden can be sited at the Likas Green Belt.

“I also urge the mayor to make sure that future town hall sessions will involve more KK residents, especially rate payers, so they can be more effective in getting public feedback and suggestions on how to improve Kota Kinabalu as a vibrant city,” he said.