STATEMENT: The public needs to be weary of (Chief Minister) Musa Aman’s empty promises, in particular his claim that the Sabah Structure Plan 2033 will speed up development plan approvals.
He made a similar promise on April 12, 2010 when he was quoted as saying the State Government would come up with refined guidelines to speed up the approval process.
Where are the refined guidelines now that Musa announced in 2010? Has the approval process of development plans been sped over the last couple of years?
Musa was Chief Minister since 2003 and the earlier Sabah Structure Plan 2020 was likewise approved by his Cabinet on April 12, 2006.
So who has Musa got to blame for rojak towns, traffic jams and slow development approvals besides himself and his advisers.
There must be lots of raised eyebrows when Musa, and his Minister of Local Government and Housing, Datuk Hajiji appeared on the front pages of at least two English dailies sharing the stage with the Director State Town and Regional Planning Department, who by the way, has been his adviser and adviser to the Central Town and Country Planning Board since his appointment to the post in 2007.
In other words, these same three persons are the very ones who are responsible for our planning, development, housing and transport woes.
I am told there are many issues regarding the Sabah Structure Plan 2033 which I intend to bring up in the future. I will however wait till after I have had the time to study and consult planning, architecture, engineering, economic, environmental and social science experts.
In the meantime Musa needsto be more respectful of the public’s intelligence, and not to fool people again and again, in what appears to be recycled speeches.
We want to see concrete, solid, transparent action plans as to how the planning department and authorities actually resolve the current red tape and speed up approvals for developments. Enough of empty promises.
I would like once again to recommend the following resolutions be adopted by the Ministry.
1) Implement an ONLINE submission and application system to process housing developments. By now the State Government must be ready to implement e-submissions for housing development applications or how do we expect Malaysia to become high income nation by 2020?
2) A map-based register of planning decisions (approvals and refusals) to be uploaded online by the Central Board and all local authorities for public consultation. This system can help to promote better transparency and fight corruption.
3) Housing policy and housing standards be developed to address housing choice, design, affordability, tenure mix and future needs including an ageing population and people with disability.
I remain convinced that if the above recommendations are adopted, it would be a huge big step towards a better-planned Sabah, as well as to shorten the approval period for housing developments in Sabah.
Vice President, Warisan Sabah
Assemblyman for Likas