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By Chris Maskilone

Hii receiving his appointment letter from the Chief Minister. SNT File Pix

SANDAKAN: Newly appointed Sandakan Municipal Council president Datuk Peter Hii (Hu Chang Lik @ Hii Chang Lik) has described the personal attacks against him as “nasty and uncalled for.”

However, taking the political storm surrounding his appointment in stride, he  said it would not get in his way to bring changes to the council that he hoped to be both people and business-oriented.

As a Sabah-based businessman who had lived in Sandakan since 1969 (when he was only 17), he noted that there was a general feeling that the council need to be more people-oriented and able to address issues facing ratepayers more effectively.

Datuk Peter Hii. SNT File pix

He also said he had received his permanent residency in 1978 and was a member of the Sandakan Municipal Council from 1988 – 1990 and 1991 to 1994.

“For those criticising me rightly or wrongly, I would like to tell them I take it with an open mind. I bear no ill will, my focus is for Sandakan.

“Do not judge me on my past, but do judge me at the end of my tenure i.e. if I have made Sandakan to be what it has been missing all this while, Hii said.

He also thanked Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Mohd Shafie Apdal and the Warisan-led state government for putting trust in him.

“If I have failed to carry out my duties and responsibilities, if I have not turned Sandakan into the a booming municipality in the state, if I’ve not brought investments to our beloved town, then I am ready to be placed in a shooting range,” he said.

However, Hii said that it was rather unfair to brand him when he has yet to start him work as the council president.

“All those harsh criticisms makes me all the more resolute to carry out my responsibilities to the best of my capability,” he said, adding that he expected the brickbats though he bore no grudges against those even slandering him.

Hii said as the new president of Sandakan Municipal Council he has a vision to bring back the glory days of this former Sabah timber town that at one time was known as “Little Hong Kong.”

Hii is in a hurry and already looking at plans to fast track the development of the municipality that is in need of a strong economic base.

Despite being the home base of the former chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman, Hii said that the economy of Sandakan was very sluggish and the key role of the council will be to facilitate investments with the help of the state government.

“There are certain areas that I am looking at to create an environment for the development of industries that could boost our local economy as well as bring the much-need job opportunities for our youth.

“I assure that proactive steps would be taken to spur the local economy and bring high-end development,” said Hii.

He said among other thrusts would be cleanliness of the town, getting the much-delayed Sandakan airport runway extension (for bigger aircraft to land and take-off) delivered without further delay, making Sandakan a choice tourist destination, as well as to develop the  downstream industries in seafood, oil palm and timber.

“I will listen to development proposals and with an advisory team, select the best for Sandakan,” he said.-SabahNewsToday