LEKAS JAYA// THE BUSINESS TIMES, FRIDAY 21 AUGUST 1981 M$1.6b futuristic city PARAGRAPH 1 A NEW futuristic “city” costing a whopping M$1.6 billion, will soon rise from the jungles of Sabah. Behind it all is the Wee family of Sarawak, to which Singapore millionaire banker Wee Cho Yaw belongs. The other Singapore connection is that a well-known local architectural firm, Timothy Seow and Partners, is the master planner of the entire development. The company is also drawing the detailed architectural plans for the buildings in this development The yet unnamed city will rise from shores of Likas Bay, five kilometers by road from the capital of Sabah Kota Kinabalu. However, it will not remain nameless for long. It is understood that Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad PARAGRAPH 2 Will name the city when he visits Kota Kinabalu on Sep 1. The city is a joint development between Kim Chuan Seng and the Sabah state government. The state government is said to have taken a 30 per cent share in the Likas Bay development. Kim Chuan Seng is a holding company of numerous timber concerns in Sabah and Sarawak. Among the companies under its told are Borneo Timber, Bornion Sawmills and Tulid Baru Sdn Bhd. Its chairman is Mr wee Boon Ping, a relative of Singapore’s Wee Cho Yaw. Mr. Wee Boon Ping himself is a prominent businessman in Malysia, and is regarded as a spokesman of Chinese businessmen in Malaysia. He is the current president of the Associated Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry PARAGRAPH 3 Of Malaysia. Mr Wee is also known to be on close terms with powerful Sabah politicians, Including the Chief Minister, DatukHarris Salleh. The new development will stand on approximately 40 hectares of land. The land was bought over from the state government by Kim Chuan Seng. However, the state government itself had just bought the land from Japanese company which originally intended to develop “Likas Jaya” The built-up area is estimated to total 400,000 square meters, roughly 10 times bigger than Singapore’s Raffles City. It is also much larger than the other prime development in Singapore, Marina Centre, which comprises three hotels and 59,000 square meters of shopping space and PARAGRAPH 4 Which stands on 9 hectares of land. The Likas Jaya Bay development is centred on residential, office and shopping space. Also to be built is a 40-storey tower block hotel containing some 1,000 rooms. A marina in front of the hotel is also envisioned. Residential units consist of both low-rise traditional shophouses and high-rise, space-like twin towers blocks. The traditional shophouses themselves total 100,000 square meters. The round twin tower blocks, a familiar architectural trait of Timothy Seow will have 200 to 300 residential units. There will also be 50,000 square meters of office space. A feature of the Likas Bay development is the presence of connecting passageways between all the major buildings. It was originally proposed that these PARAGRAPH 5 Passageways be built from glass but chances are that the passageways will now be made from dull, ordinary concrete. Construction of the new development will be in two phases. The first phase will start at the end of this year, barring any delays. It is estimated that the project will take at least five years to complete. Likas Bay is earmarked as a new urban centre in Sabah. Some planners even say that it will overshadow Kota Kinabalu in time to come. Others say that Likas Bay will be the new side of Kota Kinabalu town. A sign of the things to come is the fact that Likas Bay is the site of the Sabah Foundation’s headquarters. The circular tower block now houses the Chief Minister Department and other key state government offices.