It is not the state government alone that can usher in prosperity and development within the state. Once the government has laid the foundation for a better administration and sense of security, many people can contribute to the state’s growth. And some of the steps taken by Chief Minister Musa Aman signal signs of a green revolution that could come to Sabah. With Sabah being predominantly an agricultural economy, and now the booming tourism economy, it would be good to have a fresh green revolution in Sabah.
Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman is going green, quite literally. A green foundation – YaHijau Malaysia (Yayasan Hijau Malaysia) and the “MyGreen Sabah”- is set to become a grassroots movement to encourage Malaysians to adopt eco-friendly lifestyles. After recording good progress in environmental preservation through its “Heart of Borneo” (HOB) initiative when it succeeded in increasing protected forest areas to 1.3 million hectares, Musa Aman has assured that he will continue to be committed to Sustainable Forest management (SFM) and eco-friendly development projects all over Sabah.
The Sabah State Government has set-up the Sabah Green Technology and Climate Change Committee which will be responsible for formulating policies and making recommendations on tackling green technology issues, environmental issues and climate change at the State level. The need to save Tanjung Aru Beach and Prince Philip Park which has already lost 60 to 70 meters due to erosion over the past 50 years is one of his priorities now.
To Save Tanjung Aru Beach and the Prince Philip Park, Musa Aman has come out with a master plan under the Tanjung Aru Beach Rejuvenation Plan, a fantastic plan and an unprecedented move! Tanjung Aru Beach will be moved seawards to improve wave exposure, and coarser beach and terminal structures will be put up to minimize loss of sand, among other measures. The objective is to push back the sea to regain the land that was lost to erosion over the years. Tanjung Aru Eco-Development (TAED) has been entrusted with reviving Tanjung Aru Beach. This would involve reclamation of 440 acres out of the total of over 700 acres. This mammoth project will cost RM1.5 billion and Datuk Victor Paul, the most experienced developer in Sabah who has an extremely good track record in construction, has been roped in. Datuk Victor Paul built the Perdana Park at Hone Place, Tg Aru entirely as part of his Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a gift to the state and the people without requiring any form of payment or reward. It is believed that he spent RM50 million. He also built Metro Town, a township, all on his own and many other projects since The Berjaya government. Musa Aman has got the right man for the job.
The present Prince Philip Park in Tanjung Aru Beach covers 14.5 acres and with the revival project it will cover 27 acres. The present length of the beach is about 1400 metres with a width of 9 meters of sand during high tide and 25 metres of sand during low tide but after development, its new length will be 1420 meters with a new beach width of 50 to 110 meters. Remember, presently the beach has already gone down by 60 to 70 meters due to erosion, if left as it is in years to come Prince Philip Park will itself be claimed by the sea.
So under the Tanjung Aru Beach Rejuvenation Project, The government is giving back to the people 68% as public areas while the remaining 32% is earmarked for development. The revival project is to return the park and beach to its former glory, while at the same time attract investments from locals and foreigners, create job opportunities and develop the local economy. In doing so, the government through the Tanjung Aru Eco-Development (TAED) would be giving Tanjung Aru Beach and Prince Philip Park back to the people. It will be bigger, cleaner and well-designed unlike now. The public would also not only enjoy continued access to the beach, they would also NOT BE charged when visiting it.
And behind the beach and the park where the former Tanjung Aru Government Quarters used to be located, there is a piece of land that was sold by a former chief minister to the fugitive Teh Soon Seng. The state government under Musa Aman had to fight in the courts to recover this land. This parcel of land is were the residential and commercial property development inclusive of six hotels and resorts is to be built.
Musa Aman told a visiting group from Kuala Lumpur that good governance is to solve people’s problems. The administrative system is more of less the same across the country but there is need for change in the mindset for infusing service in the work culture.
The group, on a study tour of Sabah, called on Musa Aman and acquainted themselves on how Sabah tackles challenges before good governance.
Musa Aman said that team spirit is must for result and ‘Team Sabah’ fulfills this need. There is need for clear-cut instructions on policy matters and administrative setup to ensure the message percolates downstream and the action taken reports travels upstream. And development needs a positive attitude. He said that one reason for the success of Sabah’s good governance model is people’s participation.
He said that environment and development are complementary to each other; both are needed to lend speed. There is need for vision even for environment. He recalled that when Perdana Park was developed by Datuk Victor Paul, all kinds of accusations were hailed and even NGOs were criticising left, right, and center. But today, Perdana Park is considered the most progressive park of its kind in Malaysia where a musical fountain and purified water is provided free of charge. Heaps of praises are thrown by everyone and is now the most regularly visited site for recreation in the state capital. Built on a 16-acre area, Perdana Park is the very first recreational park in KK with a musical fountain performance. One has to learn how Sabah nurtures greenery and preserves wildlife to protect the environment despite so much difficulty and converts them into tourism. Sabah is fast earning Green Credit points as it has adopted a policy of harnessing Nature and not exploiting as is in vogue in the rich Western countries.