KOTA KINABALU: The local authorities have clarified that the chopping of trees at the Tanjung Aru beach here was for the people's safety.
Kota Kinabalu City Hall (DBKK), in a Facebook post, said the decision to cut three trees of the Aru species was done based on reports.
"According to inspection reports by the DBKK landscape department, it was revealed that the trees were hazardous to park visitors."
Since yesterday, images of the chopped trees were circulated on social media and in WhatsApp groups.
A portal also questioned if the action of chopping down the trees indicated the start of a controversial project known as the Tanjung Aru Eco Development (TAED).
TAED was first introduced by the then Barisan Nasional government in 2013 on a proposed 340 ha site with seven hotels and 1,800 rooms, 5,000 apartment and condominium units, marinas and entertainment venues as well as a 133ha golf course.
It received strong protests from the public given Tanjung Aru's iconic status as one of the remaining prime public spaces for visitors, and also for environmental concerns.
When Parti Warisan Sabah took over the state government, despite promising to scrap the project before 2018, it proposed to downsize the development plans during its 26-months in power.
Early this year, Gabungan Rakyat Sabah's deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin had said that the megaproject would go on as planned but would be scaled down and would not involve any reclamation works.