Save our Heritage for Our Future Generation
KOTA KINABALU, 11th April 2013- Heritage Sabah, a non-government organization dedicated towards the preservation of architectural and cultural heritage is deeply displeased by the fact that their written submission in response to the Kota Kinabalu Local Plan 2020 Public Consultation has been ignored for nearly two years now.
“We have followed all statutory processes to submit our written comments within the expected timeframe. Our members have also dedicated their time to visit the public exhibition, to scrutinize the plan and to have a roundtable discussion to identify key issues that need to be addressed from a ‘heritage’ point of view. Surely our comments and feedback deserve acknowledgement,” says Richard Nelson Sokial, the spokesperson and President of the NGO.
Since the day that Heritage Sabah lodged their written submission on 16 December 2011, Mr Sokial noted that the society has not once been contacted or informed of the subsequent actions that will be taken by DBKK regarding their comments.
“We do not recall ever receiving letters or phone calls regarding any public hearings or forums to further discuss how our proposed policies can be incorporated,” said Mr Sokial, adding that DBKK’s inaction is a poor demonstration of their accountability as a Local Authority for the capital city of the state.
Some of the issues highlighted in Heritage Sabah’s submission on the Local Plan include the lack of a consolidated vision for heritage, lack of policies to earmark Heritage sites and precincts and a lack of enforcement measures to ensure effective preservation of Heritage sites.
“We hope that DBKK has a valid explanation for their inaction. If we, as an official NGO did not receive a response for our thorough submission, who knows how many other genuine individuals and interest groups have not been receiving responses? Is it a common practice these days to delay matters of public importance? Where is the efficiency and transparency that has been parroted by the DBKK authorities all this while?”
Despite the long delay, Heritage Sabah remains active in their pursuits and is currently lobbying for special controls to be implemented in several precincts around KK particularly adjoining the Atkinson Clock Tower, Jesselton Point and the Old Welfare Building next to Standard Chartered Bank. The intention of these special controls is to regulate development standards such as setbacks to prevent obstruction of key views and visual bulk on such historically relevant areas.
“With the upcoming General Elections 2013 as well as Sabah’s 50th year anniversary drawing near, it is critical for these matters of public interest to be addressed NOW. The public is waiting. Stop delaying.”