KOTA KINABALU, Malaysia -- Sabah Parks should be relieved of its duty of managing dive resort islands as it was found incapable of looking after Sipadan. Part Keadilan Rakyat Sabah deputy chairperson, Christina Liew, in a statement Wednesday, said the Chief Minister, being the CEO of the State, has the duty and responsibility to correct wrongs committed by government agencies and departments.
"He has ordered a full investigation, so the public is waiting to see the result of the investigation. We hope transparency is in place in this investigation," she said.
"We do not understand the rationale behind the RM5 million concrete diving resort facility for just 120 divers daily. What was wrong with the existing timber facilities? At least they are environmentally friendly," she said. "It is a gross waste of public funds and contravenes the Government's policy of conservation and protection of an environmentally sensitive area such as Sipadan.
"I hope the concrete building was approved by the Environment Department," she said.
Liew also supported Assistant Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Environment Datuk Karim Bujang's call to team up with relevant bodies who have the knowledge in the rehabilitation of the coral reefs damaged by the steel barge "by doing re-planting at the affected area".
However, she disagreed with Sabah Tourism Board Chairman Datuk Tengku Zainal Adlin, who said the damaged corals do not account for even one per cent of the total corals in the area.
"If you crack one per cent of a jewel, its value is disproportionately devalued. We are not talking about other coral reefs. We are talking about the famous Drop-off Point of one of the best diving spots in the world," she said. The government must admit that a negligent incident of a serious proportion has happened and the authority concerned must now focus on drawing up an overall development and management blueprint on the protection and conservation of Sipadan and its surrounding islands.
"If the Government is unable to manage the island, we should engage professionals to assist and transfer the technology in the management of the environment to our officials," she said, adding piecemeal work in damage control alone was not enough.
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