The project is part of a RM2 billion Chinese investment favoured by the state government. But locals complain they were not sufficiently consulted and worry about the potential health impact.
Near the northern tip of Sabah is Bangau Beach, the start of a flat sandy coastline that stretches for 21 km. Dramatic sunsets draw visitors from afar, and runners ran the length of Bangau Beach in an international half marathon a few years before the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the tourist crowds haven’t returned, and they may not for a long time. A RM2 billion operation to mine sand there is threatening to destroy the charms of Bangau Beach.
(Photo: The sandy coast of the scenic Bangau Beach in Kudat, Sabah, will look very different soon. A new sand mining facility will occupy all the space to the right of the river. | Pic by Chen Yih Wen)