Saturday, October 18, 2014

Only licensed boats to Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park will do in future

KOTA KINABALU: Boat operators ferrying visitors from the city to the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park will need a special licence from Sabah Parks to do so in the future.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun on Friday said the ministry is now looking into allowing only licensed operators to the marine park, which is already troubled by overcrowding and rubbish.

"This is to ensure only bona fide boat operators can ferry tourists to the islands. We no longer need to close one eye over the issue even though they (the boat operators) may be our friends or if they claimed that they were only out there to fish," he said after officiating at the Asia Pacific Ecotourism Conference 2014, here.

According to Masidi, officers from the Ministry of Tourism and Culture had recently reprimanded several boat operators ferrying visitors to the island illegally.

While several city tourist guides claimed such operators had been behind the massive numbers of visitors on the island, some of them were also found not abiding by any safety ruling.

He said this is one of the reasons why the ministry had been mulling a carrying capacity on Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, which was becoming more like a "night market."

"I have seen the crowd and rubbish and we take this matter seriously.

"Perhaps there are two reasons for this, either Sabah Parks is not doing its job or the islands have reached their limit," he said.