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.