Daily Express
INDEPENDENT NATIONAL NEWSPAPER OF EAST MALAYSIA
Established since 1963
Crackdown on illegal tour operators in KK

Published on: Sunday, February 16, 2014

Kota Kinabalu: The Ministry of Tourism and Culture is coming down hard on tour operators operating without licensed tour guides and tourist vehicles.

And to show they are serious, the Ministry has teamed up with seven government agencies to conduct an integrated operation.

The agencies involved are Commercial Licensing Board, Road Transportation Department, Immigration Department, National Registrar Department, police, National Anti-Drugs Agency and the Sabah Arts and Cultural Board.

The Ministry's Sabah Office Director Donald Gomez said all tour operators have to be licensed and that means tour vehicles as well as tour guides.

"We want to ensure the quality of tour services," he said.

"On top of that, we also involve other agencies to do checks if there are issues of illegal tour guides from other countries, like people without work permit conducting tour guides in Sabah," he said, adding the fine is about RM20,000 or two years' prison or both.

"Our Ministry conducts enforcement under the Tourism Industry Act and the Licensing of Tourism Vehicle Act, but there are times we need assistance from other agencies.

"Thus, we have assistance from the Road Transport Department and the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board to conduct inspections on chartered buses and also other buses and vehicles which might be used to transport tourists.

"We are dealing with a boom in tourism in Sabah and have to ensure that the regulations are followed."

Some 57 personnel and officers took part in the operation conducted at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport Terminal One and Two here on Saturday.

The operation also featured personnel from the Cultural and Arts Ministry dressed in traditional costumes, distributing tourism pamphlets in conjunction with the Visit Malaysia Year 2014.