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Published: Monday December 30, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Monday December 30, 2013 MYT 6:46:39 AM

Shrimp park project in Pitas halted

KOTA KINABALU: After years of living from hand to mouth, villagers in the northern district of Pitas had been looking forward to a much-touted shrimp project with the promise of a steady income – but this has yet to become reality as the plan has been indefinitely frozen.

The suspension of the Pitas Shrimp Park was due to the clearing of a large swath of mangrove forest without prior approval.

The project, located on state land that was previously logged, is within the vicinity of Kampung Datong, Kampung Kuyuh, Kam­pung Manggis and Kampung Telaga.

Villagers said they had been counting on the shrimp park, to be located on a 1,200ha site, to improve their livelihoods as it had offered some 3,800 badly needed jobs in one of the state’s poorest districts.

Speaking on their behalf, Kampung Datong village security and development committee chairman Maldan Abdul said: “After years of surviving from hand to mouth, we had been looking forward to building better lives for our families.”

He added that they had also asked project developers Sunlight Seafood for better access roads and clean water supply.

Sunslight Seafood chief executive officer King Wong said the Pitas district land utilisation committee had approved the project at the site that was earmarked for aquaculture development in 1983.

However, he said, the Sabah environmental protection department issued a stop-work order on Sept 23 when officials discovered clearing works had begun without an environmental impact assessment (EIA).

The company was issued a RM30,000 compound and a second stop work order was issued on Dec 23. It paid the compound the next day.

Wong said the project was aimed at boosting economic activity in Pitas through the Economic Transformation Pro­gramme managed by the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) of the Prime Minister’s Department.

Wong said Sunlight Seafood was undertaking the PSP, some 15km from Pitas town, jointly with a subsidiary of a state agency.

The agreement for the integrated aquaculture park was signed on Dec 12 last year and due to be completed in February 2016.

Tags / Keywords: Environment, Family & Community, aquaculture, pitas shrimp park, eia, pemandu

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