Thursday, September 07, 2006

Sabah CM gives go-ahead for tourist facilities on Sipadan

SEMPORNA: Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman has given the go-ahead for the construction of tourist facilities on the eco-sensitive diving haven of Sipadan.

However, the project will be scaled down.

Instead of a RM5mil clubhouse, he said the state government has decided to only provide basic facilities like rest huts, a sewage system, showers, toilets and staff quarters for 30 Sabah Parks and security personnel based on the island.

This would all cost not more than RM2mil.

“If possible, we would want the entire project to cost less than RM1.5mil,” Musa told reporters after a 45-minute visit to the internationally renowned island on Thursday.

He said these facilities were necessary as there were currently no proper resting areas for divers and visitors to Sipadan.

“The materials to be used must be light and environmentally friendly,” he said, adding that a consultant was drawing up various options for the project.

"The state government would seek feedback from the joint committee on the management and supervision of Sipadan and from the Prime Minister,” he said.

Musa said once the Prime Minister gives his approval for the tourism facilities the state government would appoint a contractor to carry out the job that would take about four to six months to complete.

He said a consultant would also decide which of the existing dilapidated buildings on the island could be demolished.

However, usable materials from these structures would be reused for the tourist facility project.

Musa said no other structures would be built on Sipadan once the project was completed.

On the illegal divers entering Sipadan – on an average of 200 to 230 daily – Musa said Sabah Parks was entrusted with managing the island.

“Sabah Parks must take the necessary action to ensure that they maintain the 120 daily visitor-diver quota that had been enforced,” he said.

On his walk around the island, Musa said there were other improvements that were needed to be carried out on Sipadan, such as improving the cleanliness of the area.

Source: The Star

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