What’s in a promise? Plenty, if you are a member of the Warisan state cabinet.
Undoubtedly there were many who believed the promises made prior to GE14 by Warisan, a newborn party that brought hope to the rakyat with the issues close to their hearts. One such issue is the Tanjung Aru Eco Development (TAED) project.
TAED is a mixed development project covering 340 hectares. Besides a rejuvenation of Prince Philip Park with a rainforest, there would be new resort hotels, marinas, residential areas and even a Greg Norman-designed golf course.
The politicians then in opposition to Barisan Nasional voiced their objections to this project which was launched in 2017. So did numerous environmental NGOs and various professionals.
Also up in arms was the common man on the street who saw it as a threat to their one luxury in life: the sand, the sea and the sun. This was an issue worth championing, an issue that cut across race and religion. This was an issue to hit on.
On Feb 10, Christina Liew of PKR, then and now assembly member for Api-Api, visited the office of TAED. Almost immediately she slammed the project. She voiced her objection, questioning why the project had to be in Tanjung Aru. Liew mentioned Kudat, Kota Belud and Papar as alternative sites.
She was showing her concern for the people of Kota Kinabalu.
Christina is today the deputy chief minister of Sabah.
One week after that, the assemblyman for Tanjung Aru, Junz Wong, vice-president of Warisan, stated that the first thing Warisan would do if it formed the state government would be to put a complete stop to TAED. Last month, it was reported that he had said the project had been scrapped.
Wong is today the state agriculture and food industry minister.
On July 5, the chief minister and president of Warisan, Shafie Apdal, announced on the front pages of a local daily that TAED may not be scrapped as it was too important to the state. It would, however, undergo some evaluation.
Wouldn’t Liew and Wong have known that this project was important to the state when they decided to use it as an issue to win the hearts and minds of voters in Kota Kinabalu?
Shouldn’t they have discussed this with Shafie and their other coalition partner, the DAP, before going to the polls? Surely TAED would have been identified as a key issue?
Obviously, there was, and still is, a lack of communication between the chief minister and his cabinet members. Sad to say, despite a united front for GE14, when it came to TAED there appears to be separate agendas.
What is sorely missing from the present state government are clear directions and objectives. The sooner they sort it out, the better. If transparency is the order of the day, just get on with it. Being neither here nor there benefits no one.
Supporters of Warisan say to give them more time. How much time? No one dares to quantify The issue here is not a question of time, but one of misleading voters prior to GE14.
Perhaps, TAED will be scrapped. Perhaps it won’t be. Whatever the outcome, to the people of Kota Kinabalu this issue has been an awakening.
Clement Stanley is an FMT reader.
The writer’s views are not necessarily those of FMT.