Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd. Shafie Apdal said the construction of world-leading resort and vacation industry company Club Med’s second resort in Kuala Penyu, in Sabah, will be a catalyst and boost for the development of the district.
He said the investment of RM400 million by Club Med to set up its second resort in Malaysia – and the first in Borneo – would also make available 400 job opportunities for Sabahans.
“This development will transform the previously unknown Kuala Penyu landscape because Club Med is not only in Malaysia, it is world-renown.
“It is certain that there will be developed in this area, not only for fishermen, farmers but for the benefit of the people,” he said, after the resort’s groundbreaking ceremony at Kg Tanjung Aru, Kuala Penyu, Monday.
Shafie said the construction of the resort was important to create a balanced development in the state so that it would not be concentrated in urban areas alone, causing the villagers to migrate.
He said the previous government’s policy for too long was to focus on development in major cities, so the new government was bringing something to the villagers in order to improve their standard of living.
“We don’t just want only Kota Kinabalu to be developed, we just don’t want Tawau or Sandakan to be developed but we also want small towns like Kuala Penyu to be developed too.”
Shafie said there was no point for the (rural) younger generation to be sent to study outside the rural areas but they eventually end up working outside the rural areas when they finish their studies.
“So this is a new concept that is our approach to ensure that such opportunities are also brought to the villages,” he said.
Earlier in his speech, Shafie said tourism has always been one of the key pillars in Sabah’s economy.
“This is why the Sabah government is pleased to support the initiative by Golden Sands Beach Resort City to bring in international brands such as Club Med to operate here in Sabah.
He said Club Med is the right candidate as they are known for building sustainable tourism products.
He said many parts of the world today that were once popular tourist destinations no longer enjoy huge crowds of visitors.
“The reason being that they have run out of tourism products. That is why we must continue to offer innovative products that will keep on attracting tourists to Sabah.
“In particular, we must protect and treasure the nature and wildlife that we have been blessed with in Sabah. Why do tourists come here? It is because we still have deep blue oceans that is home to so many colourful marine life and the forests which hold wildlife like the pygmy elephants, orang utan and many more. These are our treasures that we cannot afford to lose.”
The Club Med Borneo Kota Kinabalu resort is expected to be completed by 2022 as its second in Malaysia after Club Med Cherating Beach Resort in Pahang.
The resort is the first Club Med to be classified as a Green Building because it complies with the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) standard and will be developed by Golden Sands Beach Resort City Sdn. Bhd. (GSBR).
Also present were Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew, Club Med (Asia Pacific Resort) CEO and GSBR Managing Director Peter Wong Liang Sang and Club Med APAC Resorts CEO, Jean-Charles Fortoul.