Sukau Bridge Off; Disclosure On Cancelled Project Made In London

Sir David Attenborough has written a letter to Musa Aman urging the Sabah Chief Minister not to proceed with the bridge project.

KOTA KINABALU: The highly controversial Sukau road-bridge is a no go.

This was announced in London on Wednesday night by Sam Mannan, Chief Conservator of Forests, in a speech at the South East Asia Rainforest Research Partnership (SEARRP) dinner held at the Royal Society.

In a statement issued to the media and sighted by BorneoToday, Sam said the Chief Minister of Sabah had taken into consideration all the concerns and opinions expressed related to the bridge.

“I have been permitted to disclose this decision at this important event. We are not going ahead with the bridge,” he said.

Sam Mannan

According to Sam, Musa Aman took into account concerns expressed by renowned environmentalist, Sir David Attenborough – “a man who knows the territory better than anybody else”.

He said the views of others including Yayasan Sime Darby, Nestle, scientists and NGO groups were also noted and discussed.

In early March 2017, the Guardian UK published an article headlining Attenborough’s concerns over the proposed bridge that would span 350 metres across the Kinabatangan River, threatening one of the last sanctuaries of the rare Bornean pygmy elephant.

“If I may say so, that headline broke the camel’s back”, Sam said.

“It made us understand that the issue of a proposed bridge across a protected area for wildlife, is now the number one environmental concern not just in Sabah, but globally too, because of the extremely precarious situation of the rich wildlife therein.”

“The Chief Minister has taken everyone’s views into consideration – including Attenborough’s – before deciding on this very important issue, and I am pleased to say that balanced development has prevailed,” Sam added.

The bridge, if allowed to proceed, would have disrupted the natural paths taken by the critically endangered Bornean elephants in the Lower Kinabatangan Wildife Sanctuary. – Photo credit Danau Girang Field Centre