EIA needed for proposed skytrain and mixed development along Sabah's Likas Bay, says environment group

KOTA KINABALU: An environmental impact assessment (EIA) should be carried out for any development planned along the city's scenic Likas Bay, says the Sabah Environmental Protection Association (Sepa).

Its president Alexander Yee said it was concerned over plans to build a theme park under the proposed multibillion-ringgit Jesselton New City project that will also include a skytrain route.

"There must be an EIA for the project that involves Likas Bay, (a) major natural asset along the city's coastline," he said on Friday (Dec 3), adding that previous concerns about reclamation of Likas Bay affecting the city's idyllic tourist islands should be looked into for the EIA.

Yee urged the state government to retain the previous Barisan Nasional government’s 2017 policy not to allow further development along Likas Bay.

"Under the Coastal Management Guideline, the Barisan government said there will be no reclamation unless it is for the strengthening and management of Kota Kinabalu's coastline.

"We again ask for public consultation and transparency in this proposed development.

"As far as reclamation in Likas Bay is concerned, a company was turned down before by the state government for various reasons, one being the lack of public consultation.

"We emphasise the importance of conducting an EIA and making the findings public," he said.

Yee added that the state government should provide more details on the proposed skytrain project and be more open about the overall plan so that the public could give its views on the pros and cons.

While agreeing that Kota Kinabalu's public transport system needed to be upgraded amid growing congestion, Yee said the government should focus on the already available and "friendlier" bus system.

"Our bus system is already in place, what is important is to improve its network around the city," he said, adding that it was cost-effective and did not need much infrastructure.

“We are happy that the state is finally looking into a public transportation system in the city. They should opt for improving our bus system,” he said.

It was important to have public consultation and transparency in any proposed development, he added.

The proposed Jesselton New City development on a 64ha area along Likas Bay will be part of the skytrain project that will be built from Kota Kinabalu International Airport to the state administrative centre and Universiti Malaysia Sabah as well as residential areas along the route.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Bung Moktar Radin had witnessed the signing of the project MoU by Vizione Construction Sdn Bhd, Sycal Skycity Sdn Bhd, Guangcai China (M) Sdn Bhd and state-owned Warisan Harta Sdn Bhd.

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