Demolition looms for Jesselton’s historic courts

 

Kota Kinabalu’s heritage court building has been standing proudly since the early
1960s and all its later (less than 20 years old) extensions are expected
to be demolished soon by 2012 to make way for a new modern Kota Kinabalu
Court Complex that is expected to tower some ten storey higher.

The pulse of every great city emanates from its Central Business District
(CBD). Kota Kinabalu’s Judiciary courts are conveniently sited right in
the CBD (expanded from Jesselton Point to KK Times Square) with
accessibility served by public transportation for the general public to reach the capital city.

This is among the reasons (transport connectivity and convenience for the
public) why the courts are not moving to the five acres of land allocated
at Likas near the City Mosque next to the site for the Syariah
Courts to be built in future. Currently the Syariah Courts are situated
at the Wisma Muis compound in Sembulan.

Kota Kinabalu’s heritage court building was one of the newest government
buildings completed in the early 1960s before Jesselton became Kota
Kinabalu.

Over the next forty years, more extensions were gradually added to its
size and land compound.

The last addition was an alfresco café near the heritage court
building where media reporters love to gather to share notes.

Numerous trials were held within the walls of the heritage court building for over
40 years including important civil and criminal property and land
disputes and wrangling divorce cases.

The construction of the new Kota Kinabalu Court Complex with multi-storey
vehicle parking lots including an underground car park will encroach into
about half the land presently occupied by the Sabah State Library as its
car park and subsidiary office buildings behind the Heritage Court
building.

The access road behind the court house from Kampung Air to the DBKK
backyard and out onto Jalan Bandaran will be blocked off for good and be
a part of the land extension for the new court complex.

This is not the first time the Sabah State Library at Kota Kinabalu CBD
lost territory.

It was not accepted as the Judiciary leadership decided to
stay put on the same site with the support of the State Executive that
directed the Lands and Surveys Department to alienate part of the Sabah
Library State land to the Judiciary Department for the project.

All buildings of the Kota Kinabalu Branch Library will also be demolished
before the new replacement Tanjung Aru Library is built.

According to a Kota Kinabalu shopping complex sources, 6,000 square feet
of floor space will be provided for the temporary placement of the Kota
Kinabalu Branch Library with rental of RM360,000 per annum or RM30,000
per month to be paid by the State Government to rent the premises.

The
visiting public will be expected add  pedestrian flow to the mall and
improve its business where only about 50 percent or less of the shops are
open for business.

During the course of its reconstruction, the judiciary courts at Kota
Kinabalu will shift to the former abandoned Khidmat Supermarket and
office tower complex besides the Sabah Petronas Building in Karamunsing
now to be suitably renovated for the purpose.

It is expected that parking congestion in the area will be further
aggravated by this development.

Site management for the construction of the new court complex has to be of
top professional standard to minimize the CBD public and tourist
inconvenience due to demeanor of the workers, dust, noise, piling
impacts, mud, filthy water, heavy vehicle traffic to and fro the
construction site.

The constructions will also disrupt the peaceful ambience of the
neighbouring Datuk Chong Thien Vun Park that was once also a prospective
target of acquisition by the Judiciary Department for its plans.

The timing of this multi-million ringgit new court building project among
the many prime pumping big construction projects ongoing in Kota Kinabalu
and the construction of the Kimanis to Sipitang Oil and Gas projects is
expected to further strain the cement supply situation in Sabah as well
as stressing the steel bar supply situation unless the supply chain can
be improved or further liberalized.

Heritage appreciation and historic values of buildings in Sabah needs to be taken
very liberally as little money can be made out of them when compared to
new projects.