KOTA KINABALU: Tanjung Aru now is a far cry from what it used to be many decades ago.
Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Panglima Yahya Hussin, recalled the famous Tanjung Aru beach as a favourite family recreation spot, with throngs of people coming there for a picnic or a family outing.
“People used to enjoy swimming in the sea as the beach was beautiful then,” he said.
But today, people are shying away from swimming at Tanjung Aru beach, mainly due to pollution and the notion that the beach now looked much ‘shorter’ than it was before.
“A restaurant that was once erected in the area has also contributed to the pollution through its direct discharge, and the beach looked so much shorter,” he said.
But all that will soon be a thing of the past as efforts are being undertaken by the Sabah government-owned company, Eco Development Sdn Bhd, to revive the beach to its past glory.
“There is great plan for Tanjung Aru which includes the beautification of the whole area,” he said.
And, to mark the occasion, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will be launching the Tanjung Aru Eco Development in conjunction with the celebration of Malaysia Day and the 50th anniversary of ‘Sabah Maju Jaya Dalam Malaysia’ programme on September 16.
Speaking to reporters on the event, Yahya disclosed that a total of 124 activities have been lined up to mark the 50th anniversary of Sabah Maju Jaya Dalam Malaysia which was launched by Head of State Tun Juhar Mahiruddin on July 1 in Sandakan. It will also be launched simultaneously in three main districts, namely, Kudat, Tawau and Keningau on September 7.
The grand finale, the 50 Tahun Sabah Merdeka Dalam Malaysia, will be on September 16 at the Prince Philip Park in Tanjung Aru which will kick off at 7pm, and would see the involvement of some 1,500 people in the various performances.
“We are expecting some 50,000 people coming to the event,” said Yahya, adding that there are some 5,000 parking spots in the area.
“We would however encourage those living nearby to walk to the area to prevent traffic congestion. We will also be making provision for shuttle bus services from several areas that have been identified as pick-up points, such as Wisma Muis and the Rural Development Ministry, to mention some,” Yahya said.
Apart from the opportunity to enjoy the performances, the public can also go down memory lane and learn of their roots, as five traditional houses have been built within the park to reflect the ethnicities of the Bruneians, the Ranau Dusuns, the Bajau Samah, the Rungus and the Muruts.
Acclaimed national artistes would also be performing on that night, such as, Stacy, 1 Nation MC, Jimmy Palikat, Fauziah Gambus, Jacklyn Victor, Sheila Hamzah, Hafiz, Faizal Tahir and Azlan Typewritter.
“There will also be hundreds of interesting prizes awaiting the lucky visitors,” said Yahya.
Yahya said one the highlights of the night would be the launching of the ’50 Tahun Sabah Merdeka’ gold coin.
“I hope the public will come out and celebrate the event with us as it is a historical event. It is my hope that the people would be able to learn the history and the significance of Sabah in the formation of Malaysia,” he said.