KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government is defending its decision to proceed with the controversial Papar Dam and Tanjung Aru beach redevelopment projects amid criticism it is rescinding on its election promise to scrap them.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal (pic) said the decision to allow both projects was done in the interests of the general public and the state.
The controversial projects are the RM3bil Papar water dam (formerly known as Kaiduan dam) project and the multi-billion ringgit Tanjung Aru Eco-Development (TAED) redevelopment project along the city's iconic beach.
Shafie told reporters Thursday (June 27) that the dam project - which also includes hydropower generation - was necessary to meet the water needs of Sabah's west coast including the state capital.
"What is important are the interests of the people," he said.
He said that the Bakun Dam received criticism in the 1990s but today, Sarawak is benefiting by selling its power to neighbouring Brunei and also Sabah.
"In the long run, the project will benefit the people to meet the state's power and water needs," he added.
On the TAED project, he said that it was being scaled down from the original redevelopment plan that had included taking over the First Beach for the development.
"We are not touching the First Beach which was part of the original development plan. We have scaled down several other aspects of the development plan," he said after attending the state Law and Native Affairs Ministry Hari Raya open house.
The two projects were among key raised issues by the Opposition in the GE14 campaign, that saw Sabah Barisan Nasional led by Tan Sri Musa Aman, lose its hold on Sabah.