Tanjung Aru Beach and park have remained accessible to the public, reassures Pandikar

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s iconic Tanjung Aru Beach and the historic Prince Philip Park will always be accessible to the people, says Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia.

The Tanjung Aru Eco Development Sdn Bhd (TAEDSB) chairman reassured the public amid rumours that the beach and public park would be privatised and turned into upscale residential areas and hotels.

"That is simply not accurate,” Pandikar said in a statement on Saturday (June 22).

"Since Day 1, we have reassured the public that Tanjung Aru Beach and Prince Philip Park will remain open and accessible to them," he added.

Since its inception in 2013, the TAEDSB has been under close scrutiny due to the sensitive nature of Tanjung Aru Beach and Prince Philip Park, which are considered national public treasures.

The main concern of the public has been whether the beach and park will remain public under TAEDSB.

There were also questions about whether the area would be developed and sold off to wealthy developers, leaving locals with limited open space to enjoy.

The multi-billion ringgit TAED project, announced during the Barisan Nasional government, remained controversial, with the Parti Warisan-led state government continuing the plan during its rule from 2018 to 2020.

However, no project took off.

After Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) took over the state government in 2020, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor told the state assembly that he preferred Tanjung Aru Beach to remain open to public use amid controversy that TAED had closed parts of the beach to the public.

Covering some 340ha, the development was initially slated to include seven hotels with 1,800 rooms, 5,000 apartment and condominium units, marinas, entertainment venues, and a 133ha golf course.

In light of the uncertainty, the management of TAEDSB, led by Pandikar and its general manager Datuk Jake Jikulin Nointin, organised a gathering with the public called the "Majlis Santai Peduli Rakyat open house" on Saturday to reassure them that their concerns were being heard and taken into account.

Pandikar said the main role of the TAEDSB was to ensure that the beach and public park remained clean and well-maintained for public enjoyment.

"It is hoped that the Majlis Santai Peduli Rakyat will remove the barrier between the people and TAEDSB and help them understand more about its project," he said.

The open house featured more than 30 food stations offering a variety of local and international cuisines, as well as an array of interesting activities for the public such as games, a kids' corner, and over 40 booths for local entrepreneurs to showcase their products.

The event also featured a live band from the Sabah Cultural Board, along with a lineup of popular local singers who entertained the public.

Among the highlights of the event was the lucky draw, which offered over RM10,000 worth of prizes, including motorcycles, bicycles, and television sets.

Some 15,000 people attended the event, which was launched by Sabah Head of State Tun Juhar Mahiruddin.

Hajiji, Deputy Chief Minister III Datuk Shahelmey Yahya, and Kota Kinabalu Mayor Datuk Seri Sabin Samitah were among the VIPs present.

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