KOTA KINABALU, March 31, 2016: The Sabah Government should vehemently
reject the proposed gazetting of Sabah's prized tourist assets under the
National Heritage Conservation Act 2005 because such a federal gazette is
a back door grabbing of Sabah's heritage and putting Sabah's tourism and
natural assets under Putrajaya control, said former chief minister Datuk
Yong Teck Lee.
He warned that in future, the management of these Sabah assets would be
subject to federal interference.
"The correct law to gazette Sabah's nature and cultural assets is the Sabah
Heritage Conservation Enactment 1997. It is the same Sabah law that has
ensured protection of the Likas Bird Sanctuary (KK Wetlands), Padang
Merdeka, Chong Tain Vun City Park, Atkinson Clock Tower and other cultural
and natural assets of Sabah. Sabah already has our own heritage
conservation law eight years before the federal government got theirs.
Yong, who is also Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) President, calls upon the Sabah government, particularly the Ministry of
Environment, to assertively use Sabah's laws (such as the Sabah Cultural
Heritage Enactment 1997) and reject the proposal by the federal minister
of Tourism Dato Seri Nazri to gazette Sabah's cultural and nature assets
under the national act.
He said in fact, Maliau Basin, one of the ten sites mentioned by Dato Seri Nazri,
is already gazetted under the Sabah Cultural Heritage Conservation
Enactment 1997. The other sites mentioned by Nazri are also already
protected under other Sabah laws. There is nothing new for the National
Heritage Act 2005 to add other than to only make it possible for federal
to interfere on the management of these prized tourism sites.
"I recall the efforts of past federal ministers to grab Sabah's rights.
Like Samy Vellu who tried to take control of Sabah's water supply, Lim
Keng Yeik who tried to control Sabah's timber trade, another minister who
tried to extend the Local Government Act so that our local authorities
came under federal control. Now it is Nazri's turn.
"We should learn from the experience of a former Chief Minister who now
expresses regrets over the federalisation of Labuan. Sabahans should be
vigilant against the creeping "back door federalisation" of Sabah,"