Musa with his three deputies (from left) Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai, Datuk Yahya Hussin and Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan
KOTA KINABALU 17th July, 2012: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman said the reason why the State Government pushed forward with the landmark decision on the amendment to the land enactment involving KK waterfront was to make it difficult for others in the future to easily reclaim the area in question.
He also said the protection of Kota Kinabalu’s waterfront from further reclamation was for the future generation.
“We have seen what was done in the past…precious, prime waterfront land given away indiscriminately to quarters with vested interest,”
he said during the debate over the bill at the State legislative assembly sitting yesterday.
Musa said he received a lot of comments from NGOs including environmental bodies, locals and tourists alike who have voiced their concern over the need to protect and conserve Kota Kinabalu’s beautiful waterfront.
“This is not only for our tourism industry but it is for our future generation, our children, our people,” he said.
He said the State Government has been slammed with lawsuits amounting to hundreds of millions and in one case even to the tune of RM1.7 billion for cancelling such land approvals made in the past.
“The present government could have taken the easy way out and just go with flow and allowed our waterfront to be reclaimed and developed privately, making the seafront less accessible to the public.
“But we resisted and have the political will to stop it in spite of knowing there will be lawsuits coming our way. Thankfully, we managed to win those lawsuits,” he said.
Musa said unlike other countries such as Singapore and Hongkong where land was scarce, there was no need for Sabah to aggressively reclaim its coastline.
“Sabah still has a lot of land. Why do we need to keep on reclaiming our waterfront?” he asked.
He said that there are not many leaders that have the courage to introduce laws and policies that would restrict commercial development in the urban coastal areas in order to maintain ecological balance between development and nature.
Masidi said this after the Sabah State Assembly unanimously passed an amendment to the Land Ordinance to disallow alienation of seafront land from Tanjung Aru to Likas.
Future alienation of any part of these areas could result in the reclamation and commercial development of the beautiful Likas Bay and those between the city and Gaya Island.
“There have been many attempts in the past to alienate and develop some portion of these areas via joint ventures with State Government agencies.
“There were strong objections from the public including environmentalists and other NGOs. When Musa took over as Chief Minister, despite vehement objections by some politically well-connected businessmen, he took the bold decision to terminate these so-called joint ventures. He and the State Government were sued by these people.” explained Masidi.
“Fortunately for Sabah, the Government won these suits which include the joint venture over the prime state land near Prince Philip Park in Tanjung Aru.”
Masidi revealed that the Chief Minister was under strong political pressure to proceed with the unpopular ‘joint ventures’ in the name of development.
“But he (Musa) knew it was not a good decision for the people of Sabah so he took the right decision to terminate them,” Masidi pointed out.
That decision has ensured the scenic beauty of Kota Kinabalu remains to be enjoyed by future generations, he stressed.
Masidi said many tourists has complimented KK’s beautiful seafront and have urged the State Govt to ensure it stays that way.
“There are not many cities in the world that are blessed with natural beauty like KK and we should ensure that we don’t lose it through wanton and haphazard development of the city,” he added.
He said any development should not only consider our current needs but also the needs and wellbeing of the future generation. “Good, liveable city must have a ‘soul.”