Half-Baked Penampang Master Plan Need Massive Improvements Before Gazetted

PENAMPANG: The Proposed Penampang Development Master Plan needs massive improvement before it can be gazetted said Pritchard Gumbaris, Political Secretary to Penampang Parliamentarian, Darell Leiking.

He said this after attending a workshop organised by the Sabah Town and Regional Planning Department on the 15th and 16th of December 2021 at Lintas Platinum Hotel, Penampang.

According to him, the workshop failed to convince the attendees that the Proposed Penampang Master Development Plan was ready.

The workshop was attended by Parliamentarian and both Moyog and Kepayan State Assemblyman office, Penampang District Office, Penampang DIstrict Councillors, State Work Department (JKR), Sabah Environmental Protection Department, Penampang Fire Department, Sewerage Department, Land and Survey Department, Water Department, Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID), Malaysia Architect Association (Sabah), The Institution of Engineers Malaysia, Sabah Housing And Real Estate Developers Association and Moyog & Kepayan Community Development Leaders Unit.

“During the workshop, Town Planning admitted that they have not incorporated the JKR and DID future master plan into the proposed Penampang Master Development Plan. The absence of these plans from critical government agencies troubled the attendees because the drafted development plan does not reflect the current conditions and the future plan of each area for zoning.

“How can you justify the zoning without the inclusion of all the government agencies future master plan? How can a flood-prone area without any DID future master plan be earmarked as a residential area? How many more future housing areas will be built knowing that the areas are going to be hit with floods five times a year and even so, where is the DID’s future master plan to solve the flood problem? The best example will be Taman Shangri La at Kibabaig which is notorious for frequent floods but the Development Plan (DP) was still approved by Penampang DIstrict Office years ago. The new Penampang Development Master Plan is meant to be a guide when considering any DP approval,“ stressed Pritchard.

What was even shocking, DID admitted not to have any future master plan to tackle the floods even though they have the flood map in their possession for Penampang. Meanwhile, JKR said their future master plan is still in progress and will be incorporated into the proposed Penampang Development Master Development Plan once it is ready.

“No wonder Penampang has endless floods and it is all because DID does not have any future plan apart from a project-based plan as in the Moyog Flood Mitigation Project which is expected to be completed in 2023. But there is nothing to indicate the DID future master plan. Many housing and businesses in Bundusan are turning into flood-prone areas. Many areas had to endure multiple floods this year alone.

This will affect any potential investors coming into Penampang and will have an effect on property values but if the Proposed Penampang Development Master Plan has more details then investors and house buyers can use them as reference knowing proper planning is in place,” said Pritchard.

The two-day workshop was an eye opener for the Penampang District Office and many of the comments from the attendees who were mostly professionals were that the Proposed Master Plan was incomplete and must be improved before it can be gazetted.

The improvements suggested were to incorporate all government agencies future master plans to tackle traffic congestion and flood problems; to add planning for hospital, more industrial zones, inter-state bus terminal to take advantage of the up and coming Dewan Bandaraya Kota Kinabalu Northern and Southern Terminals; to widen forest conservation and tourism zones among others.

“We are grateful to the Town Planning and Penampang District Office for conducting the workshop because now many have realised that the proposed Penampang Master Plan needs massive improvement and should not be rushed to be gazetted.

The plan is half-baked especially when traffic congestion and flood problems are not taken into consideration. Public dialogue must be conducted because this involves the livelihood of people and their opinions and suggestions should not be sidelined. It is better to be late than to regret in the future,” said Pritchard.