February 2, 2017: The boat capsize tragedy that claimed the lives of three
tourists from China was unfortunate and what is saddening about it was
that it occurred during the Chinese New Year celebration.
SAPP secretary general Datuk Richard Yong in a statement yesterday said,
“Our hearts go to the victims and their families. The loss of lives and
the traumatic experience would have long lasting effects on the tourists
and their families”.
He pointed out that the Search and Rescue (SAR) operation by the various
agencies including the marine, police and medical staffs have been working
tirelessly to locate those still missing and their efforts are indeed
“The question being asked now is whether such incident could have been
prevented? Many quarters had expressed their sympathies, views,
suggestions and recommendations. Most of which are valid and useful.”
“The government must take all these views and suggestions seriously and
act upon it aggressively in order to improve and safeguard Sabah’s tourism
industry,” Yong stressed.
According to him, the state government has been promoting tourism and
encouraging the people to tap into the career and business opportunities
offered by tourism,* which is booming in Sabah.
He is of the opinion that the government must also protect the interest of
the local tourist guides!’ to ensure their participation in all the
inbound tour activities and it must always give priorities to local tour
operators in the handling of tourism products against the fierce
competition of foreign tour, companies.
Richard called on the government to improve the facilities and cleanliness
in the islands, improve and construct additional jetties to accommodate
the increasing number of boats and tourists in Kota Kinabalu and other
places like Kota Belud, Kuala Penyu and Semporna among others.
“There must be stringent.: enforcement of laws and safety measures at all
times. Act. aggressively lest all the talks would only remain rhetoric.
Already many cases of compiling information,. feedback and views but no
action mere talk only. We need to see follow through actions.
“While our deepest sympathies and prayers go to the victims and the
families we pray that no such untoward incident should ever happen again,”
he said. - DE