KOTA KINABALU, Jun 2, 2014: The Sabah Environmental Protection Association (SEPA) expressed disappointment that the Chief Minister announced that the Tanjung Aru Eco Development (TAED) project is being finalised without having carried out any public consultations.
“We are not against development nor job creation for Sabahans but this must be done hand in hand with Sabahans, the public loves this beach and more importantly the public uses the beach. Which is why we call on the Chief Minister as the head of TAED and the Kota Kinabalu City Hall (KKCH/DBKK) have a dialogue with the public, as promised on the last Malaysia Day Celebrations that an area would be set up for the public to view the development and for questions to be raised and answered.” stressed SEPA President Lanash Thanda.
SEPA urged the Kota Kinabalu City Hall (KKCH/DBKK) and TAED to stop talking about finalising plans and instead to have the meaningful public dialogue that was promised would happen by January 2014 .
“What we have here is a major disconnect between the plan presented by KKCH/DBKK and what was announced by TAED over the month. The Draft Kota Kinabalu Local Plan 2020 shows that public areas designated as Sports & Recreation (SR) are drowned out by Hotel & Resorts (HR). The Prince Phillip Park remains the same size and everywhere else except for the small strip on first beach is HR. But we have large areas into the sea which are also designated as HR, so they are some things from TAED and not others,” explained Lanash.
The should be a series of public consultations held where information can be obtained by the public, and their questions answered. SEPA noted that other NGOs, groups and members of the public have been asking for this dialogue since the day TAED plans were launched last year.
“Before the plans are submitted to Cabinet for approval, the public should have prior knowledge of the development plans, are informed with the details and finally consent to the type of development that would affect us. Only then should the plans be sent to Cabinet for approval,” said Lanash.
SEPA said KKCH, the State Government and TAED should view the public consultations in a positive light as it shows that the public is concerned and interested in getting involved which in turn would lead to better use of the beach and an appreciation of the Government.
“Listen to us, incorporate our ideas and visions and you will be rewarded with happy citizens, after all, the Chief Minister has said time and time again that this is a project for the people, so let the people be a part of it,” concluded Lanash.
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