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Minister: Infrastructure Projects On Sipadan Island Cancelled; 'Environmentally Friendly' Projects Considered

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KOTA KINABALU, Malaysia -- In a decision that would bring cheer to divers and environmentalists, the Sabah government has decided to cancel all infrastructure projects on Sipadan island.

The projects to be cancelled include the RM4.5 million clubhouse and seafood restaurant.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said only "environmental-friendly" infrastructure projects would be allowed on the world's premier diving spot in the future.

"We will come up with a new development concept that is environmental- friendly and suits (the island's) eco-system. We will announce it two or three months from now," he said at a press conference here Wednesday.

Musa said the new concept would be presented to the Prime Minister and the Joint Committee on Managing and Monitoring Sipadan island headed by Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Samsuddin Osman.

He also promised to personally monitor future development projects carried out on the island.

"I will be fully responsible in monitoring all projects on the island under the new development concept," he added

Musa said among the new projects being conceptualised were basic resting facilities for divers and the eco-friendly sewerage system.

On May 14, a barge laden with building materials for the clubhouse had damaged some 324.94sq metres of coral reefs at the divers' landing point north of Sipadan island.

Subsequent photographs also showed steel bars and other construction materials resting on the seabed near the island.

Outraged by the damage on corals, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi rebuked Musa on July 27 for defying his advice not to build a clubhouse on the island.

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