Laws broken and the enforcement was lax
Published on: Friday, February 03, 2017
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Kota Kinabalu: Tour and boat operators have been told to get their papers in order or face the full brunt of the law. This was among several conclusions reached by the committee established to look into tourism practices in the State, following Saturday's catamaran tragedy.

State Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Pang Yuk Ming said the probe into the incident had, thus far, found that several laws were violated and that enforcement was lax.

"We have established the jetty is illegal and that there is a lot of operation in Mengalum also deemed illegal.

Almost all of them do not have proper licences," he said.

Pang who is the minister tasked to chair the committee to look into tourism practices in the State said this after chairing the first meeting, Thursday.

He advised operators using non-sanctioned facilities to cease immediately and get their documentation in order.

"And if unsure, cease operations first and verify with the authorities," said Pang, adding that those who wish to continue to operate without having all their papers checked or verified are also considered as violating the law.

The same orders apply to resort operators who had erected structures, stating that the government also needs building verifications like the Occupational Certificates and others.

A letter from the Ministry would be issued to those erecting and operating from illegal structures and one week given to demolish them or risk being penalised, he said.

On excursions, Pang said the government will use a section in the Tourism and Culture Ministry (Motac) licensing compliance regulation to insist all operators stop all kinds of excursion when needed.

"We have proposed to Motac to use this section to issue a letter to all operators to stop activities in Mengalum with the exception of those who have their paperwork.

"And this will take effect when Motac issues a circular," said Pang.

On the catamaran incident, Pang described it as a bomb being thrown in front of them and that the explosion had woken up everyone, including the government and industry.


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