RM3 bil fund for controversial Karambunai under query

By Luke Rintod, Free Malaysia Today

KOTA KINABALU: The RM3 billion allocation to develop Karambunai in Sabah into an eco-tourism hub has come under scrutiny.

Voicing his shock, outgoing PKR vice-president Jeffrey Kitingan asked how the federal government could make such an allocation on a contentious property that was at the centre of a legal tussle.

He said the legal controversy over the property would render it impossible to implement the project in Karambunai which is in the outskirt of Kota Kinabalu, now or next year.

Describing this as one of the flaws of the Budget 2011 announced by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak on Friday, he said the PM office’s budget planning committee could have made a better decision than this.

Calling it one-sided and unfair to ordinary people, Kitingan said that the budget allocated incredible amounts of funds to the business titans, but was of little benefit to ordinary people.

“The most glaring example is the RM3 billion budget allocation to the Nexus Group to develop the Karambunai property knowing that the property ownership is still being challenged and processed in the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak together with the Shariah High Court,” he said.

According to Kitingan, the family of the original owners of Karambunai, Pangeran Jallaludin Pangeran Abdul Rauf and Pangeran Siti Fatimah Pangeran Jallaludin are in fact thanking the government for seeing Karambunai as a worthy place to develop.

However, he claimed, the family was not aware of this development until they read it in the newspapers recently.

Kitingan who is also chairman of Borneo Heritage Foundation (BHF), commended the Nexus Group for pushing for the development of Karambunai but said they (Nexus) should have made the government aware of the controversial ownership status.

“Probably, the proposed budget of RM3.1 billion for the civil servant’s one month bonus should have been approved instead…It would have made a lot more rakyat happier.