NGO plans Occupy @ Tanjung Aru picnic to 'save' iconic beach


KOTA KINABALU: Non-governmental organisation Save Open Space Kota Kinabalu (SOS KK) will be organising the Occupy @ Tanjung Aru picnic event on Sunday (July 14) over the controversial redevelopment of the iconic Tanjung Aru beach.

The multi-billion ringgit Tanjung Aru Eco-Development (TAED) became a bone of contention after the Parti Warisan Sabah-led state government revived plans to redevelop the beach despite promising to scrap the project when campaigning during the 14th General Election.

SOS KK coordinator SM Muthu said the informal gathering was aimed at showing solidarity to save the beach, adding that several upcoming activities to engage the public were had already been planned.

"We are trying to see the response. We expect more youngsters to turn up, at least 1,000 in attendance, to show the strength of the people.

"It is just a picnic, there would not be anyone talking. 

"In future, we may need authorisation if we do have individuals to do talks," he said, adding that there was no permit required for the picnic.

The invitation to Sabahans to join the event at Prince Phillip Park, Tanjung Aru beach was shared via change.org online platform. The event is expected to start from 4pm until sunset.

"Wear yellow or green, bring your own F&B (food and beverage), and make it a zero waste event," the notice said, reminding those who turn up to keep the beach clean.

Muthu said the term of reference (TOR) for whatever development to take place there must be made in the interest of the people.

"Whatever they are planning, they must be transparent," he added.

On the online signature drive, he said they had collected over 28,000 pledges so far.

SOS KK previously initiated an online signature petition to stop the TAED project, which was pushed by the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) administration.

"We initially wanted to arrange for a meeting with Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, but that was unlikely considering how things went.

"So we will send the petition to their office (Chief Minister's Department) after we hit the 30,000 signatures mark, maybe sometime next week.

"Then it is up to them (to consider)," he added.