Iconic Tanjung Aru beach reclamation on hold, focus on Prince Philip Park upgrade

Tanjung Aru Eco Development chairman Tan Sri Pandikar Amin unveiling the project direction.

KOTA KINABALU: The controversial high-end re-development of Sabah's iconic Tanjung Aru beach is being re-looked at with an eye to only develop the land areas and leaving the beachfront untouched for now.

State owned Tanjung Aru Eco-Development Sdn Bhd (TAED) chairman Tan Sri Pandikar Amin said that they were now focusing towards the development of Prince Philip Park and also converting the land space for the current hawker area into a hotel.

Pandikar said that at the current stage, they did not plan to reclaim the beachfront as proposed under the original master plan.

"The cost of reclamation is too expensive and not practical at this point. We have put the idea off," he said, stressing that their focus was to develop the land area within the TAED.

He said the plan was to expand and upgrade the 6.5ha Prince Philip Park to cover an area of 12ha with new facilities.

"We are also considering creating a historical centre within the park for visitors to understand Sabah's history from colonial days to the formation of Malaysia," he said, adding the park's name itself reflected British colonial history in North Borneo.

He said they projected that the upgrading of the Prince Philip Park would cost about RM20mil.

It was important for the Prince Philip Park to benefit the public and also meet with the growing tourists visiting the beach, known for its stunning sunsets, he said.

As part of TAED's immediate plans, Pandikar said they were also proposing for the current 1.6ha hawker area to be converted for resort or hotel.

"The hawkers will be moved with better facilities to another site within the expanded Prince Philip Park," he said.

However, he said the new proposals could only be carried out with amendments to the 2016 TAED masterplan which proposed for a high-end development that was widely opposed by many groups including political parties.

"What is important for the people to enjoy the park and beach," said Pandikar who took over TAED in Feb last year.

The project announced in 2016 during the Barisan Nasional government remained controversial with the Warisan led state government keeping to the plan during its rule in 2018-2020. But, no project under the plan took off.

Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor had told the state assembly that he preferred the Tanjung Aru beach left open to public use amid a controversy that TAED had closed parts of the beach to the public.

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