Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Handlers to be held liable if tourists disturb marine life in Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: All tourism industry players, including dive masters and tour agents found guilty of knowingly allowing their tourists to illegally handle and disturb marine life, will soon be penalized.

Minister of Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun said he had instructed Sabah Parks to look into the possibility of putting the responsibility on tour companies and dive masters to ensure their clients knew the do’s and don’ts when they dived.

“I have asked Dr Jamili Nais (Sabah Parks director) to find out whether there are existing provisions in the enactment that allow us to penalize.

“If there is none, I think it is high time for us to seriously look into it before things get out of hand,” he said after launching the new office of Sabah Tourist Guides Association (STGA) at Lintas Square here yesterday.

Masidi said he often received complaints about irresponsible tourists handling marine life, which was an offence in some countries.

He said that doing so could jeopardize the well-being of marine life and more importantly, send the wrong signal to other tourists.

He said Western tourists were sensitive to such issue and bad publicity in the media could deter them from visiting Sabah.