Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Nation Level Open House in Tawau & Sandakan?

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman was reported as saying the Sabah State Government will consider organising future open houses in other towns so that people in these areas would get to enjoy such festivities too. Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said the Government had wanted to hold open houses in towns such as Sandakan, Tawau and Kudat but was forced to shelve the idea because of inadequate facilities, particularly hotel rooms.

It would be good for crowd-puller events such as open houses to be held in various towns in Sabah instead of just Kota Kinabalu. Tawau has just hosted the first ever Malaysia Cocoa Festival. The turn out, however, was far less compared to the Christmas open house in Kota Kinabalu which was estimated to be 150,000 people.

If the CM was serious and sincere in his words, he would have attended the closing ceremony of Malaysia Cocoa Festival during its closing. He would have personally attend and pull in more crowd instead of sending his representative, Datuk Abdul Rahim Ismail. He should have make his stand on the national event and give his support.

Tawau and Sandakan are not much different from Kota Kinabalu in terms of accessibility. Air Asia flies daily direct from Kuala Lumpur to Tawau and Sandakan. There is no more trouble of transit and wasting of time at the airports. It is about time the state government spend more effort in promoting other towns besides the state capital alone.

Lacking of hotel rooms is just an excuse. If there is no consistant efforts from the government to promote and develop other towns, no investors would build more hotels in these two towns. People in Kudat are already crying because the facilities provided during Datuk Chong Kah Kiat's time could not balance up with the small number of population and tourists.

Kudat was packed with tourists during the last state level national day celebration but quiet down rather fast immediately after that. People in Kudat might feel happy initially when new hotels are being built and the sea front been given a face lift. However, when festivals are over, the locals just could not afford to help occupy the hotel rooms. Unless efforts are being make to attrack more tourists continuously, Kudat is facing trouble.

Similarly, if the government do not pay attention to Sandakan and Tawau, even holding open houses in these two towns would not help. There is nothing to enjoy during these open houses if some contractors are making a quick profit from catering and erection of tall Christmas tree. What facilities are the CM talking about where the people could enjoy?

Balance development must be distributed fairly among the various towns in Sabah. Sandakan and Tawau which are both important towns in the BIMP-EAGA must be given priority by the state government. Concentration must be given to projects which benefit the people more instead of those mega projects which clearly making more wealth for the selected few.

The million ringgit water meters scam is still not settled and now we are talking about water privatisation to Ranhill Berhard. The only one who is talking about the project is Musa himself. The people at large are all ignorant about the whole issue. Why not make the whole idea more transparent, go for open tender and stop practising direct negotiation? Make it open like open houses to be held!

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