KOTA KINABALU, Sept 7 — The Sabah govenment will revive the controversial Tanjung Aru Eco Development (TAED) waterfront project but it will now be a scaled-down version of the original plan.
Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor said the multi-billion ringgit project will be people-centric as it will incorporate various features that will provide for more public spaces and accessibility.
“The iconic Tanjung Aru beach and the Prince Philip Park will be maintained, improved and beautified for the public to access and enjoy,” he said after chairing his first TAED Board of Directors meeting at the Sabah State Administrative Centre here today.
“The new development will ensure sustainability and will take into account green initiatives,” he added.
Hajiji said that the state government has also decided that there will not be any cost incurred to the government and all TAED projects must not only be viable financially, economically and socially but also be fully funded by the investors sanctioned by the government.
“We must remember that besides monetary gains, equally important are the economic and social returns. This includes the number of jobs and business opportunities that will be created by TAED and its contribution to the development of the tourism sector,” he said.
Hajiji said several companies have expressed interest in the prime land development, among them the Chinese Government-linked company, China Railway Construction Company International Investment Group Ltd through its local joint-venture company, Mesra Melia Sdn Bhd.
Hajiji said that the state government decided to proceed with the controversial project after a revision to downsize its development scale.
The board also decided to exclude two schools namely, SK Tanjung Aru I and SK Tanjung Aru II from relocating for the development.
In the previous Master Development Plan, it was proposed that the schools be relocated to Kampung Tanjung Aru which would involve land acquisition.
TAED was first mooted by the Barisan Nasional government under former chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman and was launched by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
It was initially expected to take over the prime beachfront and include high-end resorts, golf courses, residential complexes and recreational facilities but gained widespread opposition.
Environmentalists and city dwellers expressed concerned at the scale of the project and the lack of transparency that would affect the public’s access to the iconic beach.
The issue was also hotly debated politically and became a point of contention for the opposition.