Monday, August 3

License requirement for Kundasang resorts

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KOTA KINABALU: Resorts in Kundasang will soon have to comply with the building statutory requirements established by the Environment Department, Public Works Department and Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) before having their operating license approved.

Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said in a press conference on the Sabah Fest’s Colorful Extravaganza at a resort near here yesterday that he had already asked his permanent secretary Datuk Michael Embah to arrange a meeting with the local authorities concerned to establish strategies that would address the shortcomings and haphazard developments of resorts at the mountainous area.

“We need to put things right,” he said, adding that they would meet up with the operators and owners of the resorts once the report was ready.

He added that resorts and hotels must address all safety issues and that his ministry is unwilling to allow them to be lackadaisical on the matter.

“We can’t wait until someone dies before it is addressed,” he stressed.

Masidi commented on the recent landslide that occurred in Kundasang where it had affected some of the properties belonging to the villagers there as well as one resort.

He cited that the landslide has ‘exposed’ some aspects of resorts development at the area that needed to be rectified.

In the case of the affected resort, Masidi said that it had a hidden drainage and piping systems that were ill constructed.

He stressed that the relevant local authorities must ensure that all resorts at the district abide by the approved building plans.

Masidi was also asked to comment on a report on landslides that was published in another local daily newspaper.

In the report, there were comments coming from tour guides and tourists who were aghast at the sight of hill cutting activities and trees being chopped indiscriminately in the district of Kundasang.

“The suggestion by the visitors is food for thought for all the enforcement agencies,” said Masidi.

He added that once rampant land clearing activities took place, it was just a matter of time before landslide occurred at the affected site.

“That is what is happening in Kundasang. The landslides are due to unplanned human development activities and human greed,” he said.

At the same time, he also commented on the encroachment into a state government owned land at the district by village folk.

Masidi said the encroachment probably occurred because the villagers were not aware of the land status of the area.

He added that land clearing activities on the said land belonging to the Human Resource Development Department by the villagers took place two weeks ago and that he had already asked the district office of Ranau to inform State Secretary Datuk Sukarti Wakiman about the matter.

“I have also personally informed SKN (Sukarti) about it so that action could be taken,” he said.

He believed that the villagers wanted to start a new village settlement at the area.