On behalf of the Sabah State Government, I wish everyone here a happy 50th Malaysia Day, a historic event that brought us all together as a nation and one that has led to progress for all. I am honoured to welcome our Prime Minister, Yang Amat Berhormat Datuk Seri Panglima Najib Tun Abdul Razak and wife Yang Amat Berbahagia Datuk Seri Panglima Rosmah Mansor to the historical Prince Phillip Park this evening for the launch of the Tanjung Aru Eco Development Project. Your presence here means a lot to us in Sabah, and we thank you for joining us this evening despite your hectic schedule.  I would also like to acknowledge the presence of the Deputy Prime Minister, Yang Amat Berhormat Tan Sri Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin and wife Puan Sri Norainee Abdul Rahman at this most auspicious occasion.


Tanjung Aru holds a special place in the heart of every Malaysian in Sabah.  Its beaches have for many generations served as a backdrop for priceless memories among countless families. The surrounding areas are rich in history, being the previous site for the colonial and State government quarters. Tanjung Aru is also home to one of the most magnificent sunsets in the world – and this is a fact that Malaysians in Sabah are proud about.


The passing of time has however taken its toll on Tanjung Aru. In the last few decades, some sections of the beach have suffered erosion, and lands in the surrounding areas have fallen to neglect.  Our icon has lost some of its shine. The Governmentis determined to not only restore Tanjung Aru, but ensure its future is secure for generations to come. We are determined to transform this historic place so that we can return Tanjung Aru to the people of Sabah.


The launchof Tanjung Aru Eco Development or TAED for short marks a major step that is the culmination of much time and effort in the past year to make our vision a reality. The development is also very much in line with the Federal Government's policy under the leadership of the Prime Minister, who has embarked on an Economic Transformation Programme (ETP), that has identified tourism among others as a key economic sector. We commend you Yang Amat Berhormat Datuk Seri for introducing visionary and timely initiatives that are driving the nation forward.  The focus on tourism as one of the key sectors augurs well for Sabah which has consistently worked hard to develop this sector, and is very relevant to the launch we are here for this evening.


TAED is a massive undertaking overseen and will be implemented by Tanjung Aru Eco Development Sdn Bhd, a wholly Government-owned company under the Chief Minister’s Department. The board of directors comprises highly qualified figures from the private sector and the civil service. I am certain that with their leadership, we will be able to achieve the goals set for Tanjung Aru. These goals include rehabilitating the beaches, regenerating parks and rejuvenating tourismin this particular area.


TAED is a project of utmost priority to the state as it is for the people of Sabah. Tanjung Aru will always belong to the people of Sabah. TAED is a strategic initiative with strong State and Federal support, and it will become a new gateway, adding to unique tourism attractions of Sabah. The Master Plan also places emphasis on community facilities, open space, landscaping and is supported by many sustainable environmental features.

TAED also has the added challenge of ensuring without fail that environmental issues are given priority and the target of achieving a Green Building Index Standard must be met. This will see this eco development project cleaning up and rehabilitating the beaches, sea and surrounding land,and all further discharge of pollutants into the sea will be prohibited. Existing structures including at the First Beach will be demolished, and new buildings will have to comply with the Green Building Index Standard. Fifty per cent, or half, of the land will be reserved for public use.


Without doubt, TAED will be yet another milestone for Sabah, marking its place on the world map, matching or even surpassing popular destinations in the region. It will cost the government billions of ringgit to secure the success of TAED and to obtain funding required, the State Government is taking several steps. These include engaging local and foreign investors, ensuring long-term tenure anda first-class water front development that comparable to other regional locations.


These investments will spur our economy and boost the income potential of Malaysians in Sabah, and in our efforts to attract investors, specially designed tax incentives are already in place.


In addition to the detailed planning invested in TAED, a large part of its success will be derived from the truly unique features of Sabah, the Land Below the Wind. We are strategically located in this region, and we are rich in cultural heritage thanks to our melting pot of over 30 ethnic groups. We are blessed with natural assets supported by diverse ecosystems that range from mountainous regions to lowland rainforests, flood plains and marine wonders. We are home to some of the most iconic wildlife on the planet, such as Orang Utans, Borneo Pygmy Elephants and Proboscis Monkeys. Sabah is committed to safeguarding its natural assets, we have taken some bold measures all in the interest of preserving these unique gifts for our future generations.


We have taken careful steps towards making the Tanjung Aru Eco Development a reality, and this is our way of ensuring that Tanjung Aru will always belong to the people of Sabah. On behalf of the State Government, I thank Yang Amat Berhormat Datuk Seri for agreeing to officiate the launch of the Tanjung Aru Eco Development.


I also wish to thank guests who have come from far and wide to this launch, and I hope this has been a fruitful trip for you.


On that note, I thank everyone present here this evening.