KOTA KINABALU: The ink has yet to dry but Umno already has negative things to say about the RM7 billion landmark deal signed by Yayasan Sabah yesterday.
And the putdown comes from Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan who contended the project looked bleak due to the present economic downturn.
Political observers however dismissed his remarks, saying it was nothing more than an attempt to manipulate people into opposing everything initiated by the state government.
The mega joint venture which Yayasan Sabah is undertaking with a Kuala Lumpur-based developer will involve the construction of hotels, condominiums, a shopping mall and theme park, housing and offices, among others, over the next 10 to 12 years.
Yayasan Sabah has entrusted Tegas Bangsa Sdn Bhd (TBSB), a special purpose vehicle under Pavilion Real Estate Investment Trust, to develop 391 acres of its land at Kg Meruntum, Lok Kawi in Putatan near here.
But despite the prospects held out by the project for the local economy, Abdul Rahman, in a Facebook post today was quick to run down the massive undertaking.
He claimed the project was being undertaken at a time when the demand in real estate was low and the housing market was slow.
Because of these factors, he claimed Yayasan Sabah will be left with a non-competitive project.
“The Sabah government should not have announced a long-term project that in the end will only profit big companies and rich people who are the only ones who can afford to buy property in the project.
“Besides, the tourism industry is faced with a life and death situation due to Covid-19 and the whole country admitted the industry will face further hardships despite the improving health situation,” Abdul Rahman said.
But at the signing of the project agreement yesterday an upbeat Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal pointed to the potential earnings for the state from the mammoth project.
“The location is quite strategic as it is near to several islands and can be an attractive proposition, not only for investors and real estate seekers but also tourists,” he said.
“I am confident that when the situation improves from Covid-19, it will be one of the places most sought after. Many people were actually looking for properties but because of the pandemic it has slowed down so we welcome this project.”
Shafie who is also Yayasan Sabah chairman pledged to personally monitor the project.
He was thankful that investors had not been put off by the Covid health crisis and economic downturn to pump money into the state.