Wednesday, 08 August, 2018 08:50:27 PM

1 Rapid Survey of Development Opportunities & Constraints (DOC) for Tawau District
Dates of Survey – 30 March 1999


1.1 Existing Situation

1.2 Constraints and Opportunities

1.3 Development Directions

1.2.1 Settlements

都市 Urban
Urban development in Tawau has slowed down during the past two years. However this is only because of funding constraints as a result of the economic downturn. With Tawau strategically located within the BIMP-EAGA plus the long established barter trading activities with Indonesia will certainly encourage Tawau to grow. This is further supported by the construction of the new airport and the proposed integrated port complex at Wallace Bay and will certainly make Tawau as a second international gateway to Sabah.
The expansion of Tawau town too is possible since most of the land is flat which makes it easy for urban settlements. The reclaimed part of town too has available development land. The waterfront in particular can be further improved for local and tourist attractions.

Areas along the Apas road up to the new airport will certainly be a target for urban expansion. However these areas too are fertile which creates competition between agriculture use and urban expansion.

The illegal squatter areas have been a constraint for urban settlement to expand. They occupy prime areas, rivers sides, coasts and swamp areas which can be developed for something more useful. Not only they are an eyesore, there are also more serious problems such as river pollution, social and hygiene problems. What makes it worse is it depreciates the value of land near or around the illegal squatters. However it is also a sensitive issue and needs political will to solve it.

乡村 Rural
The lack of basic infrastructure is a general constraint to rural development. Another constraint is that much of the development concentrates around the urban areas only and the rural areas are being pressured for large plantations.
However with the new airport and the proposed linkage between Kalabakan and Pensiangan, it will provide some opportunities for the rural areas to be developed. For example there is a proposal to develop the checkpoint at Mile 24 as a new township and Mile 26 as a centre for government services.
The proposed integrated port complex at Wallace Bay too is a positive sign as it encourages development in the undeveloped Pulau Sebatik. It is also suitable because it is within the barter-trading route.

1.2.2 Natural Resources

农业 Agriculture
Most of the land in Tawau is fertile and favorable for high value crops like oil palm and cocoa. The Tawau FELDA for instance is said to have the biggest refinery mill in Sabah. Beside large companies investing in the oil palm plantation, the local community through small holders too is benefiting from the fertile land.

The setting up of the Cocoa Research Station at Quion Hill under the Agriculture Department will also further promote cocoa plantation and other value-added cocoa products.

However the excessive cultivation of oil palm is always seen as the major cause for rivers to be polluted. However it was claimed that no such cases are happening in Tawau maybe because of the sound land management. Oil palm waste for example is burnt to produce electricity.
Nevertheless, too much concentration on oil palm plantation too might not be a very healthy development especially when oil palm can grow on much less suitable soil. Other food crops like vegetables should be given a chance as Tawau has grown some very successful lowland vegetables particularly near the existing airport.

森林 Forestry
Although efforts have been made to protect as much primary forest as possible by protecting them under forest reserves, there are still some areas that are being exploited. Perhaps not being clearly marked is the main reason. The Tanjung Batu Hill for example is a protection forest but almost half of it is being quarried.

The protection swamp areas at Tanjung Batu too house very large timber mills which also suggest a review of its status. Illegal logging activities too may have been taking place in the interior of the Serudong tidal swamps. Other unprotected primary forest will certainly be cleared for agricultural activities. Most of the mangrove forest along Batu Payung has been developed for aquaculture activities. Already the biggest in Sabah, it is still expanding. But again even some of the mangrove forest reserves, for instance near Kg. Inderasabah, are being cleared for aquaculture.
Nevertheless, logging activity is said to be decreasing partly because of several factors such as the decreasing market value of timber and unfavorable timber policies. These open up opportunities to explore other timber related industries which give more value-added products such as furniture making, woodcrafts etc. The Integrated Timber Complex (ITC) at Pasir Putih is one example.

Tawau is famous for its salted fish, anchovies and dried prawns. This can encourage fishery-related industries such as seafood processing. The existing large prawn farms also help the fisheries industries.
However, fish bombing in the Tawau waters is rampant. The pollution caused by the illegal squatters along the coast and the timber related activities downstream are also threatening the marine life.

1.2.3 Infrastructure

运输 Land, Water and Air Transport
The setting up of BIMB-EAGA suggests improvement in all sectors of transportation. The proposed upgrading and sealing of the Kalabakan – Sapulut road will certainly benefit the people of Tawau as it will take a shorter time to reach Kota Kinabalu and the other western parts of Tawau thus benefiting the BIMP-EAGA. There is also a proposed pan-Borneo link at Serudong to join with Indonesia. However attention should be first given to the upgrading of the roads linking to the major growth areas like Brantian, Kalabakan and Serudong. Roads to Merotai need to be resealed as the patched holes are dangerous to motorists. Roads to the east also need to be widened due to the expected increase in traffic volume as a result of the new airport at Mile 17. The new airport too will not only help to serve people in Tawau but also in Semporna.
A new port is also being planned at Pasir Putih to support the existing Tawau port. Careful planning is needed, as the waters of Tawau are mostly shallow due to the high siltation. Quite a substantial amount of money is said to be spent yearly just to do dredging works.
The proposed integrated port at Wallace Bay will not only improve barter trading but also support the BIMP-EAGA connection. The congestion at the existing barter trade jetty is said to be a very serious problem. The most common complaint is the time wasted while waiting for loading and unloading at the jetty.
However as a precaution, the immigration, police, Customs and Excise departments and the Marine Department should be provided with proper offices and sufficient workers to facilitate effective monitoring of the inflow and outflow of goods and people through the barter trade centres.


水供 Water Supply
The continues concession of the water supply to Timatch Sdn Bhd has improved the water supply of the district. It will be a matter of time before the whole of Tawau receives sufficient water supply. This is supported by the construction of a water treatment plant at Merotai.
However the pollution at Sungai Tawau at Kg.Cinta Mata is said to be threatening the water supply in Tawau. Water leakage is rampant especially in the illegal settlements. More enforcement is needed to monitor against water leakage.
Nevertheless many of the rural areas are lacking in water supply. This is partly due to the scattered pattern of settlements and shortage of funding.

电能 Power
Through the private investment of Serudong Power Sdn Bhd, an Independent Power Producers (IPP) has been supplied and will be able to provide sufficient power if operated at full capacity. Although the town area is well serviced with electricity, the rural areas are still a problem mainly due to the transmission of power. Nevertheless, the soon-to-be-completed East Coast Grid should ensure no more shortage of power supply.

通讯 Communications

Telecommunications are only limited to the urban areas of Tawau mainly because of the unfavorable topography, lack of demand and shortage of funding. Besides telecommunications, cellular communications is widely received especially around the urban areas.

保健 Health
The scattered pattern of settlements, shortage of staff and funding are some of the constraints for health development mainly in the rural areas. Only 4 rural clinics and 7 health centres are available throughout Tawau.
However, there have been improvements in the health sector lately with the expansion of the hospital and the setting up of the nursing school. Furthermore there are always private clinics supplementing health facilities. A new Tawau Medical Centre is currently being planned.

教育 Education
The ever-increasing population has congested schools. A class size of 50 students is considered normal. The high number of inexperienced teachers is also a constraint. Tawau is claimed to be the only town in Sabah that does not have a teachers’ training college. To cope with the situation, more schools and tertiary level education are needed.

The setting up of an ITM branch, MARA and the Maktab Perguruan Tawau at Mile 24 are being planned.

娱乐 Recreation & Leisure
Despite Tawau’s status as a municipal council and its large population, Tawau does not have a sports complex. The beaches in Tawau are not favorable for recreational and leisure activities as most are polluted by waste washed down by rivers and from the illegal settlements along the coast.
However a new sport complex under the 7 Malaysia Plan is being planned

A few private recreational clubs and outlets are found in the town areas. A new double storey Bowling centre has just been opened.

Tawau Basketball Stadium

 Tawau also has 3 golf courses of international standard.

废物处理 Liquid & Solid Waste Disposal
The waste disposal site for Tawau does not have proper filling facilities. There are also squatters settling within the areas. The existing by-laws also covers waste disposal within rating areas only. Tawau does not cater for any industrial waste. Basically the shortage of funds is the major constraint. The illegal settlements further exacerbate the problem.

However, the privatization of waste disposal services to Sari Jadi Sdn Bhd has improved the waste disposal services. Nevertheless more improvement is needed particularly regarding the waste disposal site management.

灌溉 Irrigation & Flood Control
Flood prone areas are usually areas where there are illegal settlements and where there are illegal structures in some of the private housing areas blocking the drains. If the drains are not blocked, flood problems will not occur. More enforcement is needed to control illegal structures.

More about Development in Tawau District