The Government has been urged to resolve the suspended skybridge project here as soon as possible.
Concerned that the project will become a white elephant, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Central Youth movement leader Sim Fui said the air-conditioned skybridge has yet to be opened to the public a year after its near completion due to various factors, including the developer's insolvency and lack of action by the Government in resolving the problem.
"The abandoned project is a huge disappointment and poses a risk for Kota Kinabalu in becoming a city of abandoned projects, such as Star City, 1Sulaman and KK Bus Terminal."
Sim said Member of Parliament Chan Foong Him had vowed to bring the matter to Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng and study the possibility for the State Government to take over the project but no announcement has been made after three months.
"Since the Government intends to build the proposed RM5.2 billion railway track from Kota Kinabalu to Kudat, why can't it look into repaying RM20 million owed to the contractor so that the skybridge project can be fully completed?"
Petrofiq Sdn Bhd was appointed by the developer of the skybridge, Sunsea Development Sdn Bhd, to undertake the project. The skybridge has achieved 95 per cent completion but Petrofiq has only received 35 per cent of the contract sum, leaving a balance of approximately RM20 million.
The Skybridge, Pedestrian Linkage and Traffic Improvement Works under Kota Kinabalu City Hall (DBKK) Masterplan Scheme A are financed by the Public Private Partnership Unit (UKAS).
He said Sunsea Development, by right, could claim the money from UKAS upon completion of the skybridge.
However, Sim said the developer has become insolvent before the skybridge was completed and therefore was unable to obtain the funding from UKAS in order to pay the contractor.
Sim said he inspected the skybridge recently with LDP Public Complaint Bureau Chief Jason Liew Chien Yan, with the co-operation from Petrofiq.
"The contractor is eager to solve the problem and even have a few good proposals but the relevant authorities are not taking the matter seriously. The Government is rolling out new development projects but we also urge the Government to resolve the pressing issues right before our very eyes."
He said there has been a viral video complaining about the skybridge recently, which prompted a lot of questions from his friends and relatives abroad.
Sim urged the Government and contractor to sit down and discuss the matter.
"The Government can pay the contractor directly or appoint the contractor to take over the project or lease the skybridge to the contractor in return for completing it. "Either way is better than abandoning the entire skybridge project."
The RM31.5 million skybridge connects the major shopping malls and commercial centres in the area, namely Oceanus Waterfront Mall, Asia City, Centre Point Sabah, Warisan Square and Api-Api Centre. There are 20 air-conditioned retail lots on the skybridge.
He also hoped Deputy Chief Minister cum Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew would also look into the issue as the skybridge would not only benefit locals, but also reflect our image to tourists.
"The Government should ensure the project is completed as soon as possible or risk disappointing the people who have placed high expectations on the new government during the election."