By THE BORNEOTODAY TEAM
KOTA KINABALU: The state government is still looking at various aspects of the implications in constructing the Sukau road bridge which smacks in the flora and fauna-rich Kinabatangan conservation area.
Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said policy makers are having a relook at the controversial bridge but declined to give details.
“We are not sitting quietly on the issue of this road bridge that is being pushed by certain quarters,” he said Thursday after opening a workshop aimed at drawing up plans to further protect the critically endangered proboscis monkeys in Sabah.
“I am not at the liberty to say at the moment but we have not been idle,” he said, stressing that it is still a long discussion among policy makers.
“We have been engaging with the relevant stakeholders and policy makers, and I think soon we will have an indication where the policy direction is going to be.”
Environmentalists want the controversial RM223mil Sukau road bridge scrapped as it would cause severe impact on the migratory path of wildlife in the Lower Kinabatangan, which has been packaged as Sabah’s gift to the earth.
At the same function, Chief Executive officer of Yayasan Sime Darby Yatela Zainal Abidin said that further contributions towards conservation in Sabah would depend on the outcome of the Sukau road bridge.
YSD has serious reservations over the project as it has poured millions of ringgit for conservation and preservation in the region, and the bridge could have a negative impact on its work.
“We are concerned about certain actions that we feel might affect our investment on conservation in Sabah,” she said.
On the killings of two elephants sometime in Dec last year – including a rare sabre-tusked animal for their tusks near the Kawag Forest Reserve along the Segama River, Masidi said they were still pursuing the matter.
The Sabah Wildlife Department had said they have problems getting the suspects though they had one earlier on.
A suspect’s house was raided but nothing was found, but another person possessing ivory was discovered, though it was not related to the deaths of the two jumbos.
Apparently the culprits had come to the Ulu Segama area via the river and had left via the same route.
The authorities are also waiting for answers from the counterpart in Indonesia to find out whether the ivory found in a woman’s luggage in Nunukan, North Kalimantan belonged to the murdered Sabah Pygmy elephants.
On the disbursement of the federal funds meant for conservation of rhinos in Sabah, which was raised by Yatela, Masidi said that the delay was not deliberate, and that it was more of a safety measure which he did not elaborate.
“The money has been kept in a trust fund and this is why we cannot simply give out a lump sum, we need all the details of where and how the money is going to be used,” he added.