Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sabah insists state coasts safe for tourists despite federal minister’s claim

The Sabah government moved to assure tourists today that its scenic beaches and coasts were safe, after a federal minister raised the security flag on the north Borneo state following a string of kidnappings by armed militants.

Datuk Masidi Manjun, who is the Sabah Tourism, Culture, and Environment Minister, blasted the federal Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz for what he claimed to be an unfair assessment of the security risks in Sabah, adding that it could undo efforts to draw back tourists there.

“For him to say that he will not guarantee the safety of tourists in Lahad Datu until the two cases of kidnapping are solved does not make any logical sense.

“It is like saying he cannot guarantee the safety of passengers to travel on our national airline (Malaysia Airlines) until MH370 case is solved or that he cannot guarantee that snatch thieves will not attack tourists in Kuala Lumpur since many cases remain unsolved,” Masidi was quoted saying in an online report by The Star news portal.

Nazri had told Parliament on Monday that the safety of tourists in Sabah there cannot be guaranteed until the two kidnappings that took place earlier this year is resolved, and added that he would not order tourism officials to promote the north Borneo state.

Masidi also chided Nazri for his remark about Lahad Datu and  maintained that the town, which was invaded by an army of Sulu gunmen last year, is safe despite Nazri’s statement that he would not personally visit the district.

He pointed out that even a high ranking US official was confident of staying in Lahad Datu, which makes its embarrassing for a federal minister not to express confidence in the country’s own security forces.

“The United States Ambassador to Malaysia and his wife recently spent the night in Lahad Datu on the way to Danum Valley.