RM7 bil Sabah beachfront project will fail, says Rahman Dahlan

An artist’s impression of the proposed RM7 billion project, which is set to transform the Putatan coastline in Sabah.

KOTA KINABALU: An Umno Supreme Council member today raised the red flag over state plans to build yet another multi-billion ringgit beachfront project.

Abdul Rahman Dahlan, who is also the Tuaran Umno chief, warned of the possibility of Sabah Foundation getting trapped in a failed venture due to the gloomy real estate market globally.

Rahman said this in reference to the RM7 billion beachfront venture near Meruntum, Lok Kawi, in Papar  by state-owned Sabah Foundation and private firm, Tegas Bangsa Sdn Bhd, inked yesterday.

“This project will certainly be impacted by the gloomy real estate and housing situation all over the world, including Sabah. If this project is hit by this, Sabah Foundation will be trapped in a project that is not competitive.

“The land owned by the state GLC, valued around RM200 million, will be tied up with the project for years,” he said in a statement here today.

Umno Supreme Council member Abdul Rahman Dahlan.

Rahman said state funds should also be spent on the hundreds of thousands of Sabahans who lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 crisis and not in mega projects.

“Covid-19 will affect many theme parks like Disneyland and Genting Highlands. Many more parks now are facing huge losses due to this health crisis.

“Many also admit that theme parks are no longer fun as there are now many who fear going out.

“Everyone knows that the health crisis has changed the world economic landscape,” said Rahman, adding that the state tourism industry is also struggling to stay afloat due to the health crisis.

Rahman also said the project also needs an environmental study as it is being sited in an area over a sea and a populated village in Meruntum, Lok Kawi.

He also raised concerns over the safety and marketability of the project as it is located in an area with busy air traffic as it is adjacent to the Kota Kinabalu International Airport.

Rahman said the state has to consider the safety of the property buyers and the noise pollution involved in the mixed commercial project.

On a similar note, the former Barisan Nasional minister said the state had also failed to make it a requirement to build affordable housing as many would have to be moved out if the project begins.

“The state must also be clear with the company, Syarikat Tegas Bangsa Sdn Bhd, about building access roads as this is also the state government’s responsibility,” he said.

He also said it was not right for Sabah Foundation to announce such a massive project at a time when it is also struggling to pay for the salaries of its University College Sabah Foundation staff.

The university’s vice-chancellor recently proposed a 50% pay cut to 200 staff and also announced the possibility of lay-offs if the college’s financial situation does not improve following a sharp decline in the number of students enrolling for its courses in April this year.

Rahman also demanded that the Sabah Foundation be more transparent and reveal the details of the Lok Kawi beachfront project.

The project showcases high-rise shopping complexes, condominium blocks and theme parks. The project is expected to take between 12 and 15 years.

It was reported that the date of commencement will be decided after the submission of development plans, which may take five to six months.

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