The Alternatives Are Unthinkable; More Answers Needed From Victor


COMMENT: Many people have been wondering about the business model of Tanjung Aru Eco Development (TAED) is using to develop the Tanjung Aru beachfront. Little is known of the financial side as efforts to explain to the public had been confined to the erosion of the beach as the reason, thus the project was badly needed.

With the recent item in the local daily, things are clearer now.

It appears you alienate the land, of course owned by the government, put visuals on it then just sell each parcel to the highest bidder.

The bidder will then develop according to the guidelines not even set by the City Hall, if we understand it correctly.


According to TAED CEO Victor Paul, “this will be the first approved Local Plan in Sabah with one-stop centre for fast development approvals outside of the Mayor’s power.”

How does the Mayor (Yeo Boon Hai) feel now that he has been sidelined? Is this in order from the legal point of view?

We would like to think since this is public land, how is that TAED has the powers to do what it wants? Shouldn’t a government agency play a role in overseeing what is good for the public?

The project has now become private where land banks are being created to sell to developers. A zoning plan, after all!

With this model in mind, TAED is now offering 39 development lots for the public out of 44 lots. What is going happen with the other five lots; who are they reserved for?


With all these strange arrangements with a de facto Mayor and all, what is going to happen to the public park area promised by Boon Hai that it would be accessible to the public all the time? Does it still stand? He did say if it was not gazzetted as such by a certain time, he would resign. Has that been done and when?

It would also be interesting to see who would purchase these lots as the target was investors from China, but now, its Central Bank is not allowing the Chinese to buy properties overseas anymore.

With a soft property market, it is going to be tough, unless of course some off shore nominee companies acting on behalf of some wealthy people here, will get into the act to displace local people from their heritage.

Somehow you get the feeling our local people will get fooled again!


We have come a long way from being a “primitive” colony as Tunku Abdul Aziz put it to a reasonably well “developed” state. Of course the job is not done yet as it is an ongoing project.

Yesterday, 16th September, we celebrated our Malaysia Day when the country came into being 54 years ago.

Tunku Abdul Rahman signing the Manila Accord with his Philippines counterpart, Macapagal, and Sukarno of Indonesia, over North Borneo.

It was not an easy birth as our neighbours Indonesia and the Philippines were both very unhappy with us (North Borneo then) for opting to form Malaysia as both had wanted us to be their province.

After all these years, we have done relatively well, all grown up and Kota Kinabalu, formerly Jesselton, has become a modern, bustling sea side city with one of the best sunsets in the world.

If over 50 years ago, we had only one stretch of tarred road from the town centre to Tanjung Aru, now most of the surrounding areas are accessible by roads, though of varying quality.

If the shops in Bond Street, now Jalan Gaya, the main central business district for over a hundred years were made of simple planks and attap, now expensive multi-storied concrete shops stand there majestically.

Jesselton in 1926, as Kota Kinabalu was called then. – Photo taken from the internet

Who would have thought we would have condominiums and five star hotels around the place, which are now part and parcel of city living with tourists coming in to enjoy the nearby islands and our famous mountain.

From an attap airport in Tanjung Aru, we now have the second busiest airport in the country.

That’s how we have grown in terms of physical development. If you are a local and you have been away that long, there is no way you would recognise the place. A stranger on the shore you would be!

So, forming Malaysia with Sarawak, Malaya and Singapore who had since left was indeed the right decision.

Our early independent journey was far from smooth, it would be naive to expect otherwise. Two political heavyweights in the person of Tun Mustapha and Tun Fuad Stephens manouvered for political supremacy which more or less had set our political tone over the years.

Kota Kinabalu today. We have come a long way off since 1963 when Sabah formed Malaysia with Sarawak, Malaya and Singapore, though Singapore pulled out a short while later. – Photo credit SKKhoo

We tried to find our own way without the luxury of political experience. We were in fact grasping at a straw in the dark. It was like a baby coming into the world before its time. Somehow we survived.

Fast forward to now, there are still many creases that need to be ironed out and there are voices of discontent out there getting louder and you ignore them at your own peril.

What was agreed as a federation with local autonomy clearly spelt out in Malaysia Agreement(MA63) has over the years turned more into a unitary state instead with more powers concentrating in the centre especially when Dr Mahathir was the Prime Minister.

Whatever was agreed in MA63 or stipulated in the Federal Constitution was conveniently ignored for political expediency as an autonomous state of Sabah was seen as a hindrance to national integration and should not be left alone to her own devices.

A glorious sunset at Tanjung Aru as seen from the waterfront in the city. – Photo credit David Hogan Jr/

Even though Sabah (as well as Sarawak) was supposed to be an equal partner in the federation, it is merely a state now. On top of that the demography was tinkered with when illegal immigrants from neighbouring countries were given citizenship with the view that they were more pliable and easier to manage.

Subsequent events proved otherwise, and this has caused much unhappiness with the local people and has become the mother of all problems here.

A compliant State government with the local branch of dominant UMNO spearheading here, has not helped matters as more local rights are seen to be trampled on.

Whatever was envisaged and agreed as the unique character of the state maintaining its own individuality appears to be fast disappearing. Many members of the older generation especially are finding it hard to connect to all this and many don’t see the joy of celebrating as they contend that Sabah is poorer now despite her abundant natural resources which have been exploited mercilessly by Malaya.

To put it in perspective, nobody here is hankering for new arrangements, most want a return to what was provided for in MA63.

A honest dialogue and a better understanding of what was agreed by all parties in forming the nation and political leaders taking upon themselves to take the necessary steps to review all the arrangements provided for would only strengthen the nation.

The Federation was envisaged as a new nation of equal partnership and not an enlarged Malaya masquerading as Malaysia.

We must get this right, as there was a clear line between “formed” and “joined” Malaysia as there was no Malaysia to join then.

A happy Sabah and Sarawak is a strong Malaysia that will sustain the country until end of times. We are indeed greater together.

We have to work harder and smarter so that our future generations would be motivated to make this country better for all because of this deep sense of belonging and thus attain true greatness.

The alternatives are unthinkable!!

A Happy Malaysia Day, belatedly, everyone.