KOTA KINABALU: A plan is being explored to connect the international airport to the university in the state capital here with a Skytrain rapid transit system.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) to explore the proposed Skytrain as well as a Jesselton New City mixed development project was inked by four firms on Monday (Nov 29).
WHSB Ventures Sdn Bhd, which is a subsidiary of Sabah government investment arm Qhazanah Sabah Bhd; Vizione Construction Sdn Bhd; Sycal Skycity Sdn Bhd; and Guangcai China (M) Sdn Bhd signed the document witnessed by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin, who is also state Works Minister.
The first phase involves a 10.5km Skytain route from Kota Kinabalu International Airport to the city centre, as well as kickstarting the mixed development.
The first phase of the Skytrain project is expected to take three years at a cost of RM1bil funded by investors.
The proposed 6.47ha (16-acre) Jesselton New City along Jalan Tanjung Lipat, which will include a theme park, is expected to be completed in six years with a gross development value of RM5bil.
The second phase of the Skytrain route would span 15km from Jesselton Central Terminal to the Alamesra commercial and residential area.
Bung Moktar told reporters after the MoU signing that the project will reference the Skytrain model from China.
He said the project has been planned for several years through meetings with interested parties from Hong Kong.
"They (China investors) want to invest in a Skytrain and theme park here, which I think is good for Sabah in future, a game-changer for the state's economy.
"We were also advised to (check out) the Skytrain now running in China, so very soon we will visit them, the factory, how they run the train," he added.
On whether people might protest against the mixed development which is along the public space of Tanjung Lipat, he said they ought to look towards the future, in attracting more tourists here.
"Before this they (tourists) have to go to Genting, Langkawi (for such theme parks) but now such opportunity is given to Sabah," he said.
Bung Moktar also gave an assurance that the marine ecosystem will not be disturbed while reclamation works will be minimal, where "everything will go through environmental impact assessment".
Asked if the Skytrain line will be expanded if plans to move the airport materialise in future, Bung Moktar said it was something to be looked at later.
He said something concrete on the project commencement, such as a groundbreaking ceremony, can be expected as early as February.
In a statement, WHSB Ventures said it will act as project administator, Vizione Construction as project developer, Sycal Skycity as project funder and Guangcai China (M) as project management consultant.