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Calls for more transparency on KB housing project

By Ezra Haganez
KOTA BELUD : A local activist has called on the authorities to explain if the proposed development of 2,000-unit public flat at Kg Pirasan near here has an approved EIA or Environment Impact Assesment, as earth-works started weeks ago.

Kanul Gindol, a political and human right activist, said he has been approached by concerned locals of what is going on at the site which happened to be close to the pristine Kadamaian River.

"As a concerned local citizen and in a position to observe, i am issuing this statement upon requests by my environment-concerned friends on the government's proposed development of a 900-unit "peoples flat" near here.

"We believed this 900 units are part of the proposed 2,000 units Rumah Rakyat to be built here as announced by the Federal Government earlier last year," Kanul said in a statement here today.

Kanul who is also chairman of Kelawat New Township Planning and Development Committee, said earth-moving and hill cuttings have started at the proposed site in Pirasan but many are asking if a transparent EIA has been approved for such development.

"Villagers in the vicinity also have raised concerned of future floodings if proper drainage are not to be thoroughly planned and carried out as had happenned in many incidences in Malaysia, particularly in Sabah.

"There are even claims that a "public consultation" with those affected in the vicinity had failed to be carried out. We call on the authorities to explain this so as to quash unnecessary rumours on the much-needed housing project," he pointed out.

Kanul said everyone had welcomed development, more so for affordable houses like this one in Kota Belud. However, he said, stringent regulations must be followed.

"We wanted to believe that the Government especially the Federal Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry as well as the Kota Belud local authority would have looked into all the requirements so as not to burden the peoples and the state later.

"We call to attention the prevalent floods as soon as construction sites appeared in the vicinity. We are talking of preventing floods, and not managing them only later, which is a bad planning," he further said.

The activist also claimed that many in Kota Belud are also very concerned by few other on-going projects here where good planning seemed not to have been put in place before carrying out these projects.

"One glaring example is the unnecessary tiling of pedestrian pavement that was put around the Kota Belud town recently. Why was the tiles on these pavements suddenly ordered to be taken out last week and replaced with another similar tiles?

"Isn't it a waste of public fund? Another example is the upgrading of the town's Padang, where initially they have put up fence at the wrong perimeter. The contractor was forced to realign the fencing for the site which would have not been the case if there were good planning," he said.

"Some may claim that these issues are small things, but how could one trust someone or the authorities for bigger things when even in small things they failed?," Kanul said.

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