KOTA KINABALU: The decision to sell a piece of prime land in the city has been shelved amid mounting pressure from the Chinese community as well as the state government.
United Sabah Chinese Communities Association of Kota Kinabalu (USCCAKK) president Datuk Susan Wong said they would look at alternative options for the land that the association had initially decided to sell to developer Arah Permai Sdn Bhd.
She said their decision to put the deal on hold followed Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal's advice not to sell the land for a "one-off gain" but instead develop it for long-term income for the community.
Wong said the committee would discuss the future of the land and call for an extraordinary meeting of USCCAKK to decide on the land development.
The USCCAKK annual general meeting on June 30 had approved the sale of its 50% share of the land to the private developer.
The state government granted the prime piece of land, which sits in the heart of the city, to USCCAKK and the Sabah United Chinese Chamber of Commerce (SUCCC) in 1997 to develop Wisma Tionghua.
The SUCCC executive committee that met on Thursday (July 11) also decided against selling the land buts wants to continuing pursuing the joint-venture development plan with Arah Permai that was signed in September 2013.
Under the initial joint-venture agreement with Arah Permai, the slightly more than 1ha plot of land was to be developed into a shopping mall, five-star hotel, parking lots and a banquet hall.
Under the agreement, the Chinese associations would get 40% of profits from the parking lots, office spaces and the banquet hall. But since the signing, there was no further development on the land.
Earlier this year Arah Permai offered to buy the land from USCCAKK and the SUCCC.
The company offered to buy the land for RM40mil if the two Chinese bodies agreed to release the land by October this year. The developer also offered to write-off a refund of its RM2mil deposit and other expenses.