(2 February 2001)

KOTA KINABALU: The State Cabinet's purported "endorsement" of the pedestrianisation of Gaya Street is another glaring example of untimely and insensitive interference by the Chief Minister, Gaya MP Datuk Yong Teck Lee said Thursday.

He was responding to press reports Thursday quoting Chief Minister Datuk Osu Sukam as saying in a post-Cabinet press conference that the State Government supported the Gaya Street plan.

It is difficult to understand why the Chief Minister is so adamant about the Gaya Street project that he even brought the full weight of Cabinet to bear on Kota Kinabalu City Hall with such speed, urgency and insistence even though the Mayor has repeated that there will be a review and survey.

Yong, who has asked City Hall to reconsider the wisdom of the project and urged for City Hall's Board of Advisors to convene on the issue, said the Chief Minister's remarks had complicated the matter.

Mayor Datuk Abdul Ghani Rashid said earlier this week that University Malaysia Sabah is conducting a study on the pedestrianisation, and City Hall's decision whether to keep or discontinue the project will depend on the outcome of the study.

"I think there is a question of procedural correctness here," said Yong, who is also Likas Assemblyman.


"Does the so-called State Government endorsement mean the Mayor's promise is now redundant, and that the UMS study is to become only an academic exercise?

"Now that the chief executive of the State has put himself between an administrative decision and public opinion, we run the risk of both sides digging their heels in, and this can turn ugly."

He repeated his call for the City Hall's Board of Advisors to meet so that the city's administrators have an opportunity to review its decision.

He said since he last made a statement on the Gaya Street plan, much information and opinions have emerged, especially from experts' dissertations in the symposium on City Government held here recently.

"I think the theme 'plan with the people' should give the State Government and City Hall much food for thought.

"It seems that the State Government has not given a chance for City Hall to practise what they have learned from the symposium that city planners need to plan with the people and not just for the people."


Datuk Yong Teck Lee
Member of Parliament for P150 Gaya / State Assemblyman for N13 Likas







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